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Croatia’s top court rules on president’s upcoming parliamentary election

ZAGREB (AP) – Croatian’s president can’t run for prime minister, take part in the upcoming Parliamentary election or campaign in favour of an opposition party, unless he resigns immediately from his current post, according to a ruling on Monday from the country’s top court.

“They did it in a gangster way, I will eventually be prime minister, but I won’t tell that gang how,” said President Zoran Milanović on the Constitutional Court decision.

Milanović last Friday called a Parliamentary election for April 17, but hours later announced that he would run for Croatia’s next prime minister on the list of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP).

The surprise announcement has triggered a deep political crisis in the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member country, with the state’s constitutional court called in to give its opinion on Milanović’s move to run in the parliamentary election.

“If the president wants to take part in a political campaign, he must submit his resignation immediately to the president of the Constitutional Court, the president and the SDP party are obliged to act in accordance with this warning and stop violating the constitution,” Judge Miroslav Separovic said at a news conference, adding that the president is a nonpartisan figure, according to the constitution, and as such Milanović isn’t allowed to take part in an election or campaign in favour of one political party.

The ballot next month will pit the ruling conservative Croatian Democratic Union against the SDP-led group of centrist and left-leaning parties, which have announced that they will run as an alliance.

Croatia’s President Zoran Milanovic. PHOTO: AP
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