Nationalists poised to take power in Croatia

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Croatia lurched to the right with Nationalists claiming victory yesterday in the country's elections. The pro-Western Prime Minister, Ivica Racan, conceded defeat after official results showed the Croatian Democratic Union HDZ and three smaller right-wing parties together won 75 seats.</p>The four-year-old, left-of-centre coalition won only 54 seats and analysts believe this "conservative revolution" may bring instability to Croatia, with HDZ still unlikely to form a viable government on its own.</p>The Croatian Peasants' Party (HSS), which now has 10 seats, is expected to form a coalition with the HDZ, whose leader, Ivo Sanader, declared the results "a brilliant victory". Mr Sanader told journalists he would start talks with prospective coalition partners after the official results are pronounced.</p>Moving to calm fears in the West, he said his priorities were "to lower taxes, fight corruption, improve the judiciary, join Nato in 2006 and the EU in 2007 by meeting all international obligations, and resolve all problems with neighbours".</p>Final results of the elections are expected to be announced on 5 December, after ballots from Croatian minorities are counted. </p>