ZAGREB (Reuters) - Croatia's president nominated centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party leader Andrej Plenkovic as prime minister-designate on Thursday, signalling his return to power after a July 5 parliamentary election.
The HDZ is set to form a majority coalition with the support of two smaller liberal parties and representatives of national minorities.
"I was shown that Plenkovic has the support of 76 parliamentary deputies," President Zoran Milanovic told reporters.
The HDZ won 66 seats in the 151-seat parliament, well ahead of the main opposition Social Democrats, who with their allies took 41 seats. Plenkovic headed the outgoing HDZ-led coalition for the past four years.
The new parliament is expected to convene next Wednesday after which Plenkovic will seek approval for his new cabinet, probably a day later. "The new government will have 16 ministries, four less than the previous one, for the sake of better functionality," Plenkovic said.
Most ministers from the previous government are likely to keep their jobs including Finance Minister Zdravko Maric, seen as pivotal to keeping public finances on track to advance Zagreb's bid to adopt the euro single currency during the next government's term in office.
(Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Mark Heinrich)