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Conservative Opposition Wins Croatian Elections, But No Outright Majority

The leader of the conservative opposition Croatian Democratic Union party, Tomislav Karamarko, celebrates initial results.

Croatia’s conservative opposition has won the country’s first parliamentary elections since it joined the European Union in 2013.

But the conservatives, led by former intelligence chief Tomislav Karamarko, did not win by enough votes to govern without a coalition partner -- setting up a scenario for difficult government negotiations ahead.

Croatia’s electoral commission said on November 9 that, with 99 percent of the vote counted, the conservatives had won 59 seats in the 151-seat parliament.

The ruling Social Democrats, led by incumbent Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, won 56 seats.

The result means both blocs failed to win an outright majority, so the formation of the next government will depend on several small parties that also have entered parliament.

That puts the third-place party -- Most (Bridge) -- in a strong negotiating position with 19 seats.

Milanovic called on Most leaders to start negotiations immediately on forming a new government.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP
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