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Croatian Conservatives Win Snap Elections, Face Difficult Coalition Talks

Croatia's conservatives have won snap parliamentary elections held over the weekend, but face a tough task to form a new coalition government.

According to final results, the conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) had 61 of 151 seats. Its main rival, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), secured 54 seats.

The reformist party Most emerged third with 12 seats, allowing it to play the role of kingmaker.

Snap elections were held on September 11 after the right-wing government led by the HDZ collapsed in June after less than six months in power, paralyzed by bickering.

The political deadlock has delayed reforms that are necessary for Croatia, the European Union's newest member state, to catch up with the rest of the bloc.

It has also fueled nationalist rhetoric amid heightened tensions with Serbia.

Croatia has shown signs of recovery after a six-year recession, with GDP growth at more than 2 percent. However, unemployment hovers around 14 percent.

Some 3.8 million citizens were eligible to vote in 7,000 polling stations.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa