Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Monday conferred the mandate to form a new government on Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader Andrej Plenkovic, who had presented her with the signatures of support of 91 elected deputies in the 151-seat ninth parliament.

At the ceremony that took place at the Office of the President at noon on Monday, Grabar-Kitarovic and Plenkovic held talks after which they addressed the press, with the president congratulating Plenkovic on the support and expressing hope that the next government would be stable and efficient.

Plenkovic said that the mandate was "a great honour, responsibility and commitment" and undertook to form the government soon. Plenkovic is expected to form his cabinet, which will be the 14th Croatian government, within the next 30 days.

He said that the priorities of his cabinet would be reviving the country's economy, creating jobs, boosting competitiveness, enabling positive demographic trends, and ensuring the functioning of the rule of law and political stability.

As for challenges lying ahead of Croatia, Plenkovic said that "they are both internal and external in nature. In this sense, I expect efficient, close and quality cooperation with the President of Republic, in light of the fact that the challenges lying ahead of us and the entire Europe are very serious and require strong engagement of all institutions of the Croatian state." 

The agenda of the new government, which will be prepared by the HDZ together with its partners, will focus on the economy, and some of the first steps will be to draw up the 2017 budget and to elaborate a comprehensive tax reform, according to him.

We will work on the growth generators in many sectors, from agriculture, industry and tourism to other sectors, and we will work on strengthening the institutions of the Croatian state, the premier-designate said.

Plenkovic pledged to work on an inclusive, tolerant atmosphere in society and on creating an atmosphere appropriate for a member of the European Union and NATO.

"We have achieved all important goals for our nation in the first 25 years (since Croatian gained independence), and now we should make sure that Croatia is a modern, European country where all its citizens feel comfortable and where human and minority rights are respected. In this context, I have insisted on having all the eight minority parliamentary deputies support the future government."

Likewise, this is a quality message to ethnic minorities in Croatia and also a pledge and guarantee of the quality protection of rights of Croats in the neighbouring countries, including the Croats that are one of the constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to ethnic Croat minorities in other neighbouring countries, he said.

The inaugural session of the new parliament is set for Friday.

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