Croatia ruling party vows investment, no new taxes

Updated: 2011-09-28 11:03


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Croatia ruling party vows investment, no new taxes
Croatia's Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor kicks off the ruling centre-right HDZ party's campaign for the upcoming December parliamentary elections in Zagreb Sept 27, 2011. [Photo/Agencies] 

ZAGREB - Croatia's ruling conservativj HDZ party vowed on Tuesday to boost investment and jobs and keep a lid on spending and taxes if it wins the Dec 4 parliamentary election.

The HDZ, which has been in power for the past eight years, is trailing a centre-left opposition coalition in opinion polls in the former Yugoslav republic which concluded EU membership talks this year.

The latest survey, published on Monday night, gave the HDZ some 20 percent of the vote, compared to 37 percent for the Alliance for Change, led by the Social Democrats. But Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor said she was convinced the HDZ would win a third four-year mandate.

"There will be no new taxes. We want to position Croatia as an investment destination. We will show fiscal responsibility and halve the deficit by the end of 2013," Kosor told a news conference.

This year's budget deficit was set at 4.9 percent of gross domestic product.

Kosor pledged new investment in tourism, infrastructure and energy projects - almost identical to the opposition's plans, presented in early September.

"What we don't want is new taxes, pension cuts, corruption, liquidity problems. Also, we will not privatise our natural resources," she said.

The centre-left opposition wants to ease the tax burden on labour, but wants to compensate by introducing taxes on property and capital.

Croatia, which completed EU entry talks in June and hopes to join the block in July 2013, suffered two recession years in a row. This year, most analysts forecast one percent growth at best.

Croatia's growth before the crisis relied mostly on summer tourism, state investments and consumer spending, but analysts say the country must now turn to boosting production and exports, both of which have stagnated since the country gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.