Croatian Court prevents president from seeking an MP slot

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The Constitutional Court of Croatia has blocked President Zoran Milanović’s bid to run for a parliamentary seat, asserting that he must first step down from his presidential role as engaging in partisan political activities is incompatible with the office, as declared on Monday.

Milanović had announced his intention on Friday to contest on the ticket of the opposition Social Democrats (SDP) in the upcoming early parliamentary elections scheduled for April 17.

His plan was to resign as president if the opposition secured victory in the elections, aiming to assume the position of prime minister. Milanović cited Prime Minister Andrej Plenković’s contentious justice policies, which critics argue are exacerbating corruption within the EU nation.

Milanović and Plenković are known adversaries, with the president expressing consistent support for Russia, while Plenković adheres to the pro-Ukrainian stance of his HDV party, affiliated with the conservative European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament.

The dissolution of Croatia’s parliament last week, initiated by Plenković’s government, paved the way for early elections.

Prior to this, the parliament had passed a contentious law against whistleblowers under pressure from Plenković’s administration. Opposition concerns suggest this legislation aims to conceal corruption within Plenković’s circle.

Critics speculate that the prime minister is hastening the elections due to apprehensions about declining popularity for his center-right HDZ party.