Croat parliament names speaker, govt vote set for Saturday
( dpa )- The Croatian parliament met on Friday for the first time since November elections, naming a new parliamentary speaker and scheduling for Saturday a vote on Prime Minister Ivo Sanader's new government coalition.
Luka Bebic of Sanader's Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) was named new parliamentary speaker.
President Stjepan Mesic designated Sanader , whose conservative HDZ claimed 66 of the 153 seats, to again form the cabinet two weeks ago.
HDZ overcame a challenge by the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP), which, with 56 seats, also tried to scrabble together a broad majority coalition.
Sanader secured his second consecutive term by winning over the Farmers' Party and the Liberal Party (HSS/HSLS), with eight seats, along with several minority representatives and the sole representative of the Pensioners' Party.
The coalition deals introduce an ethnic Serb into a top government position - of a deputy premier - for the first time since Croatia fought Yugoslavia and rebel Serbs on its way to independence between 1991 and 1995.
The hardship of satisfying such a large coalition reared its head at Friday's meeting, which ended with no agreement over what officials from the coalition would occupy the five deputy premier posts created to meet the demands of the coalition.
The parliament is scheduled to reconvene on Saturday morning and vote for Sanader's proposed government, which should have no problem being passed with the 83 seats held by the coalition.