Croatia’s conservative opposition won the country’s first election since it joined the European Union in 2013, partial results from Sunday’s election showed, but its narrow victory meant lengthy coalition talks were likely to follow in the next days or weeks.
The new government will have to nurture a tentative economic recovery after six years of recession and deal with thousands of migrants from the Middle East streaming through the tiny Adriatic state on their way to western and northern Europe.
“This victory puts us into position to take responsibility for leading the country. Ahead of us is a struggle to secure a better life in Croatia,” the HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko said.
The conservative alliance HDZ favours a tougher stance than its main rival on the migrant issue, seeking stricter border controls to manage the flow of people crossing the small Adriatic state of 4.4 million.
Croatia has become a transit hub for migrants, many from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, who want to travel north .
(Reporting by Igor Ilic and Ivana Sekularac; Editing by Andrea Ricci)