Andrej Plenkovic was elected the new Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) president on Sunday as the only candidate in the election based on the principle "one member-one vote", and 97,823 party members voted for him.
Approximately 208,000 members of this party were eligible to cast their ballots in polling stations organised by town, municipal and regional election branches, and the turnout was 46.83%. Plenkovic, who is the fifth HDZ leader, replaced Tomislav Karamarko who resigned as HDZ chief on June 21 since he failed to form a new parliamentary majority within the eighth parliament after the HDZ ousted the Tihomir Oreskovic cabinet consisting of the HDZ and the Bridge.
Three months ago, Karamarko had been re-elected party chief with the support of 92,276 members, and in that election he also was the sole candidate for the party leader.
Upon the completion of the election on Sunday evening, Plenkovic said in the HDZ headquarters that he would like to see the HDZ as a generator of political stability in Croatia and also a stakeholder that creates conditions for economic growth and development of solidarity, justice and inclusion.
I will advocate the economy policy conducive to entrepreneurship and fair market competition, he said.
"The HDZ will take the initiative in efforts to make the country more successful. Therefore we will ask voters to give us the mandate to run the country on 11 September," the new HDZ leader said.
Warning of many issues facing the country, Plenkovic said that a dividing policy that raises historical and ideological questions could not offer solutions to those problems.
"Achieving the joint national and social objectives must be preferred to political and ideological differences."
"Croatia needs a new approach, a modern political platform and strategic turnaround," he said.
In his speech, Plenkovic also underscored that the HDZ would ask voters to support it in its efforts to change an outdated policy of political trade-off and non-transparent funding of parties as well as of selective justice system.
The fifth HDZ chief said that under his helm, the HDZ, as a part of the European People's Party (EPP) family, would cherish the Christian Democratic legacy and universal humanistic tenets.
Plenkovic, born in Zagreb in 1970, graduated in law at the law school at Zagreb University in 1993 and passed bar exam in 2002. He got employment in the Croatian Foreign Ministry in 1994 and has performed several diplomatic roles since then. In the past years he was Deputy Ambassador – Minister Plenipotentiary at the Croatian Embassy in Paris as well as the state secretary for European Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the chairman of the Sabor delegation to the Croatia-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee.
He is fluent in English, French and Italian and has working knowledge of German. Plenkovic is married with one child.