ZAGREB (AFP) - Croatia's centre-left bloc, after crushing the scandal-hit conservatives in elections, now must drag the EU-bound country out of an economic pinch, media and analysts said Monday. The four-party coalition led by the Social Democratic Party will have 80 deputies in the new 151-seat parliament compared with 47 for the conservative ruling HDZ, official results from 99 percent of polling stations showed. The new government, which will lead the country into the EU in 2013, is facing a tough challenge in tackling the economic malaise. "Croatia is in a serious (economic) crisis and the change of govt should prevent it from turning into a full-blown depression," political analyst Zarko Puhovski told AFP. The country was ravaged by its war of independence from the former former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The economy gradually recovered after 1995, notably thanks to Adriatic tourism, but growth came to a rapid halt with the 2008 global financial crisis. With growth now crawling at 0.5 percent this year and unemployment soaring to 17 percent, the new government will have to create jobs, reform the welfare system, cut down red tape and avert a credit rating downgrade. Puhovski said that in the coming weeks the new cabinet, to be led by SDP head Zoran Milanovic, would first have to implement a series of technical tasks - notably to organise a referendum on EU membership and adopt a 2012 budget. On Friday, Zagreb is to sign an EU accession treaty, paving the way for its membership of the bloc on July 1, 2013. Before that Croatia must hold a referendum on the issue, most likely in early 2012, while the treaty must be ratified by the parliaments of all EU member states. "The goverment won on moral and not political promises. So their program remains to be seen," Puhovski said. Local papers also stressed that the new rulers were facing tough times and warned they would be closely watched by disappointed Croatian voters eager to see change. "Milanovic will soon take over one of the most difficult jobs in this part of Europe, with uncertain chances of success taking into account the circumstances in Croatia and our closer and wider environment," commented the influential Jutarnji List daily in a reference to the financial crisis. The Novi List columnist echoed the view, stressing the "long and thorny path, full of challenges" the new government faces. "This is a victory that brings obligations, and Zoran Milanovic and his team will not have the usual l00-day grace period. They have to show immediately what they know and can do," it said. Milanovic, who refrained from inflated electoral promises during the campaign, vowed not to let Croatians down. "Croatian citizens showed confidence in us, have given us a chance to lead Croatia and our responsibility is enormous," the 45-year-old former diplomat said in his victory speech in the capital early Monday. "We will not let you down, I promise that." The conservative HDZ, tarnished by a series of top-level corruption scandals, saw itself ousted from power Sunday after leading the country almost continuously since independence. Although outgoing Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor stepped up the anti-graft fight, a key demand for the EU bid, it caught her own party in its net. Her predecessor and former HDZ head Ivo Sanader is being tried for corruption, while the party itself is under investigation over alleged slush funds.