Wednesday, 9 February 2022

SDP, We Can! Want to Run in Next Parliamentary Election Together, Večernji List Says

ZAGREB, 9 Feb 2022 - The strongest opposition Social Democratic Party and We Can!, which ran separately in last year's local elections in Zagreb, are no longer hiding that they are coming closer at national level, Večernji List daily said on Wednesday.

Although the next regular parliamentary election is two years away, both parties are saying off the record that they will not run independently because nobody can form a government alone, and only together can they be a strong alternative against the ruling HDZ.

The only dilemma at the moment, top SDP officials say, is whether it is better to run in one bloc, all centre-left parties together, or in two, one comprising the SDP and We Can!, and the other with Centre, GLAS, Focus and similar parties.

The SDP and We Can! say they are satisfied with their cooperation in parliament, and that their ruling coalition in Zagreb will be an essential factor for a possible joint success at the national level.

"The SDP-We Can! coalition is the first step without which there is no chance at all of defeating the HDZ in the next election. If it's done soon enough, like (the then SDP leader) Ivica Račan did in 1998 with Dražen Budiša and the HSLS, which means offering a clear platform and people, it's a really good alternative which can look for voters' confidence in the election," an eminent SDP member was quoted as saying.

The fact that you have coalition potential and that there is a wish before the election to change things points to an honest approach which will certainly bring results, he adds.

Večernji List's We Can! sources think the same. They say the constant attacks on the HDZ over its scandals is counterproductive in attracting attention, and that in the months ahead the SDP and We Can! must solely present their policies to citizens, showing that they have both a platform and a vision, and are capable of solving problems.

The latest public opinion polls speak in favour of the SDP-We Can! cooperation, showing that together, they have higher support than the HDZ, the newspaper said, adding that the next most popular party, Bridge, has not clearly said whether it will run in the election together with the SDP and We Can!, but "swears" it will not go with the HDZ a third time.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Exit Poll: Tomašević Wins Zagreb, Puljak Split, Radić Osijek, Filipović Rijeka

ZAGREB, 30 May, 2021 - Exit polls after Sunday's runoff polls in the biggest cities show that Zagreb will be run by Tomislav Tomašević of the Green-Left Coalition, Osijek's mayor will be Ivan Radić of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), while Rijeka elected Social Democrat Marko Filipović and Split Ivica Puljak of the Centre party.


In the capital, the mayoral candidate of the We Can! and Zagreb is Ours political groups, Tomislav Tomašević, mustered 68.27% of the vote, and his opponent, Miroslav Škoro of the Homeland Movement (DP) party trailed at 31.73%.


In this southern coastal city, Ivica Puljak of the Centre party won 59.19% ahead of Vice Mihanović of the HDZ with 40.81%.


In this northern Adriatic port city, exit polls put the SDP's Marko Filipović in the lead with 57.84%, with independent candidate Davor Štimac trailing at  42.16%.


In the largest eastern city, the HDZ's Ivan Radić won 63.14% of the vote, and his rival Berislav Mlinarević, supported by the Homeland Movement party and the Bridge party, took 36.86%.

The exit poll was conducted by the Ipsos Puls agency and the results were published upon the closing of polling stations at 7 p.m. Sunday when the second round of the local elections was held.

Mayors, county prefects and their deputies are elected by the proportional electoral system, and each municipality, city or county makes one constituency.

A candidate who receives more than 50% of the vote is elected mayor or county prefect. If no candidate receives the required majority in the first round, the first two vote-getters face off in a runoff in two weeks' time. The first round of voting was held on 16 May.

The State Election Commission (DIP) is expected to publish preliminary estimates of the runoff's outcome at 8 pm Sunday.

For more on politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Macan Election Analysis: Croatia Decided to Stay in Center and Play Safe with PM Plenković

July 9, 2020 - Sunday's Croatian election was a convincing win for Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. Political analyst Kresimir Macan on the elections and the new political landscape. (This article first appeared in the print edition of Glas Istre.)

1. What was it that decided these elections, and what is the main takeaway from them?

Jim Messina, Obama's campaign strategist in 2012, once said that the voter chooses without fault the one who guarantees that they'll live better in four-years time, that this is the number one criterion according to which the voters decide, more important than the worldview or values. Plenković told them, in an extremely personalized campaign, to "Play safe" and vote for me because "in a crisis, you see the leaders," and that was a safer choice than the Restart coalition, with a purportedly broken engine during a storm, which is what Bernardić offered, without any guarantees. Croatia got the opportunity to remain firmly in the right-center and move forward, without being forced to be a slave to the extreme right. That's good for everyone - Plenković got a strong mandate with the new HDZ 2.0 in which he and his people can take the country out of the crisis, and he'll have the best and the most vigorous opposition yet. I often say that every government can be only as good as the opposition it has. I'm optimistic, and I believe most people in Croatia are today. Not only because of HDZ's success, but also because of the success of Možemo!, but also Stranka s imenom i prezimenom, Fokus and Pametno, even Most. They bring new names to the political arena, and I'm looking forward to the debates in the new Parliament.

2. Plenković is the absolute winner of these elections, which shows that, like some other nations, the Croatians have a permanent complex of authoritative leaders. It seems that the usual topics discussed before the elections in the countries with developed democracies, such as programs or the results, are entirely irrelevant to most of our voters. What does that say about the level of democracy in our society?

It says that we're becoming a developed society in which other questions have become a priority, primarily because of the economic crisis which is coming with the recession. That we're thinking primarily about our future and not a better past for ustaše and partizani. The voters could've chosen anyone, but they've decided to extend the Plenković's rule, as he's the first prime minister in a long time who left Croatia before the elections in a better situation then it was when he took power. And people felt that most in their wallets, in their paychecks, which grew significantly, both minimal and the average pay. The problem for Croatia is that our counterparts are also growing, some even faster, so to catch up, we need to change some things. That is the next task for the Croatian government, and that's what the Plenković has been given the mandate to do. Look, HDZ has never won before in I. election precinct, the center of Zagreb, and Plenković has won now - that tells you the best what those most demanding voters feel about Plenković. 

3. What are the main causes of the debacle by the Restart coalition? How can you describe such domination by the right-center party, only a few months after Milanović's victory in the presidential elections?

In the end, in addition to a bad campaign, the low turnout was the thing that decided. HDZ and somewhat IDS proved that they have the organization to get the voters out to vote, despite corona. Even Možemo! and Most did that, and SDP doesn't have that ability anymore. So, Restart wasn't able to insert their topics as critical topics in the campaign, create the atmosphere of change, and in the end, their voters stayed home. There was some potential, the polls showed that and IPSOS poll was the best, as usual, but on the election day, you need to turn that potential into votes, you have got to score, get the opponents net. It doesn't count if you played the game well, but end up getting three goals during the added time. 

4. What do the new players bring to the Croatian politics: Domovinski pokret, Možemo! and SSIP, and what does the resurrection of Most mean? 

The final consolidation on the right - HDZ went totally to the right-center, where most of their voters are. Domovinski pokret and Most take the far right, which has its limitations - in seats, it's 50:25 for the center, and then they fight for the same voters, which is not a good position. Most had a good campaign, some new faces, and gave the voters the new motivation to elect them and not Škoro, who somehow lost his footing right before the elections. This is a more natural situation than the one we had in 2015 when Karamarko and the Homeland coalition took HDZ to the far right, and then Most had to fill the position in the center, although they belong in the far right. 

Možemo! is the new, pure left clean, healthy option, built on the protest against how slow Zagreb is being rebuilt after the election, and the anticorruption movement against Milan Bandić, started by Dario Juričan when he ran for the President. Možemo, Fokus, and SSIP created pragmatic coalitions, and that resulted in having known people from the center and left of the political spectrum, which will raise the quality of the Parliament. 

5. The VIII election precinct remains the bastion for the left, but the results here are also indicative of the debacle of the leadership od SDP. What do the results of Grbin and Fabijanić, but also of Jovanić and Obersnel, former heavyweights, mean in that context?

After 104,500 votes in 2016 (if you combine SDP and IDS votes), 68,778 in 2020 is a disastrous result. Strategically and tactically wrong decision to force a coalition with IDS and PGS at any cost resulted in the lowest number of seats for Restart - 8 (they had 6+3 in 2016), and the highest for HDZ (4, compared to 3 in 2016), and even Katarina Peović from Možemo and Marin Miletić from Most managed to get a seat. The results say a lot about how appreciated certain politicians are, even the head of the slate, and how important they are in the field, compared to Peđa Grbin and Vojko Obersnel. When you have preferential voting, there's no hiding behind the party; it's just you and your name. 

6. Can these results direct Grbin towards the SDP leadership? 

This is the significant return of the person nobody counted on anymore, and he will play a major role in the revival of SDP. It's a good thing for Istria to have such a political figure in the Parliament. 

7. IDS got what they counted on, but also is a part of a losing coalition. Will that harm them, would it be better for the party to have won the three seats on their own. 

IDS always knows what to do, and it's essential they got the same result as they would, had they gone independently because the only thing that matters after the elections are your own seats. They can make a difference, and they always use those votes in the Parliament to advance Istria and IDS's agenda. That approach helped complete the Istrian Ypsilon in the full profile, which is something the voters must've rewarded, as well as Oleg Butković, who got the impressive 12,576 preferential votes in a red-and-green district. IDS has been investing smartly for years, and they even scored a bit here because Bernardić damaged the Istrian SDP and basically gifted the victory in the local elections in 2021 to IDS. 

8. Some voters showed that they're bored with years of empty left-wing rhetoric by SDP when they voted for Katarina Peović and that they want someone who holds those positions more strongly. Can this platform become a more important political factor here? Do they have the potential and the people to do so? 

Možemo has the potential to turn into a health green left option, which has been missing from the political arena for years. I believe they're here to stay. I am looking forward to Katarina Peović's interventions in the Parliament - flames will go up, and the voters will have their voice. SDP lost contact with that section of their voters a long time ago, unlike IDS, who's been nurturing it for years because there are no results without the base. 

9. Anton Kliman is not a favorite in the HDZ headquarters, but he managed to get into the Parliament for the second time "from the bench." The former tourism minister got much more votes than the current one, can his result mean his full rehabilitation within HDZ. 

Plenković was smart to throw all of his trump cards on the list, and Kliman was one of the strong ones. He qualified himself for the upcoming local party elections as one of the favorites. Local organizations need to be run by the people who've proven themselves in their work and the campaigns, and Anton is one of them. I wouldn't be surprised if he were offered a position in the executive branch. 

For more on the Croatian elections, follow the dedicated TCN section

Monday, 6 July 2020

Government Spokesman Says Plenkovic Supported by Ethnic Minorities, HNS, Reformists


ZAGREB, July 6, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has received the support of ethnic minorities, the Croatian People's Party (HNS) and the Reformists to form the new government in a preliminary round of talks conducted with them, a government spokesman said on Twitter on Monday.

"The Prime Minister has conducted an initial round of consultations with all elected representatives of ethnic minorities, the HNS and the Reformists. They have given their clear support to the new parliamentary majority and the HDZ government, to be led by Andrej Plenkovic," spokesman Marko Milic wrote on Twitter.

Plenkovic's HDZ won 66 seats, HNS and the Reformists got one each, and 8 are allocated to minority ethnic groups. 

Together, this would make 76 seats, a working majority of one in the 151-seat Parliament, allowing Plenkovic to avoid more complex coalitions. 

For the latest on the Croatian elections, follow the dedicated TCN section

Monday, 6 July 2020

Vucic Congratulates Plenkovic, Confident There is Room for Improvement of Relations

ZAGREB, July 6, 2020 - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Monday congratulated the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on their convincing victory in the July 5 parliamentary election, noting that there was room for the improvement of bilateral relations.

"I congratulate Andrej Plenkovic and the HDZ on their convincing victory. I am confident that there is room for the improvement of relations between Serbia and Croatia," Vucic said on Twitter.

The HDZ won 66 votes in Sunday's parliamentary vote, and on the same day the Serbian electoral commission published official results of the June 21 election in Serbia, and of a repeated vote on July 1, at which Vucic's Serbian Progressive Party won 188 seats in the 250-seat parliament.

For more on the Croatian elections, check out the dedicated TCN section

Monday, 6 July 2020

Analysts Say New Croatian Government to be Formed Soon, be Stable

ZAGREB, July 6, 2020 - Political analysts Davor Gjenero, Vjekoslav Raos and Nikola Baketa said on Sunday, after preliminary election results were released, that the new government could be formed soon considering the convincing victory of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

"Plenkovic has evidently won a mandate to form the government without coalition partners, in cooperation with minority representatives only. We have not had such a situation since 2003 and under the current election law, Plenkovic has won the best result for HDZ in its history," said Gjenero.

Raos said the HDZ's unexpectedly convincing victory showed that Plenkovic's tactic with calling early elections before a second wave of the coronavirus epidemic and the economic repercussions of the lockdown had proved to be the right one.

Baketa also noted that the turnout of less than 50% played into Plenkovic's hands.

The analysts believe that the government will be formed relatively quickly, with Baketa saying that 66 seats is a comfortable negotiating position should there be a need for talks on a coalition.

"It would be very good for Croatia to have a stable parliamentary majority because of the difficult situation that is to follow. It would be good if the HDZ could also secure additional support, not necessarily by offering participation in the government, but through programme cooperation with some parties," Baketa believes.

Gjenero believes that SDP leader Davor Bernardic should step down, while Raos believes that the poor result of the RESTART coalition is due to a bad order of candidates on slates as well as television debates, which have additionally discouraged centre-left voters from supporting RESTART.

Baketa believes that the second biggest election loser is the Homeland Movement, which had expected 20-30 parliamentary seats and a strong role in the government.

Gjenero said he believed that the Homeland Movement was a party financed with Russian money.

Raos believes that Croatia has leaned to the right due to the 16 seats won by the Homeland Movement as well as that it has accepted the status quo by giving strong support to HDZ.

The analysts said that the green-left coalition We Can! had scored a very good election result, with Gjenero noting that that group of civil society professionals had used their skills in the campaign in a very good way.

Baketa believes the We Can! coalition used the political stage it had in the Zagreb City Assembly to present itself to voters as a new camp and that it has won over not only voters of RESTART or the SDP but also a lot of undecided voters and people who did not previously take part in elections.

Gjenero said that Bridge, which had expected fewer seats than it won, had decided to become a clericalist party, a platform supported by a certain number of voters and infrastructure provided by civil society activist Zeljka Markic.

As for the significant difference between election results and party approval ratings, Baketa said that opinion polls did not serve to predict the election outcome but give an insight into the situation at the time when they are conducted.

Raos said that this was also due to a low turnout as well as the fact that polls insufficiently cover voters right of the centre, that most polls are conducted nation-wide while only a few were conducted at the level of constituencies.

Also problematic is the fact that a relatively small number of polls were conducted since January, around 20 by three agencies, he said.

"Parties that can afford internal polls conduct them. HDZ claimed that internal polls showed a much better result for the party and it seems they were right," said Raos.

Djenero believes that HDZ supporters are very reluctant to talk about their political preferences, hence the difference between the actual election result and the polls. 

"Our analysts do not make election forecasts but rather only present the results of opinion polls. A forecast of the election outcome requires much more than that," he said.

For more on the Croatian elections, visit the dedicated TCN section

Monday, 6 July 2020

Plenkovic: Election victory is Huge Obligation

ZAGREB, July 6, 2020 - HDZ president Andrej Plenkovic said on Sunday, after winning the parliamentary election, that this was a big victory and big voter support as well as a huge obligation which they would take into account every day of the new term in dealing with the challenges facing Croatia.

"Such support by a majority of Croatian voters is a huge obligation for us and we will take it into account every day over the next four years. We'll take it into account because Croatia needs solutions for the economy, public health challenges, for strengthening democracy, strengthening institutions, strengthening human rights, minority rights," Plenkovic said in his address to enthusiastic HDZ members.

Croatia needs a government which will pursue a new modern sovereignism policy, which cultivates the values of the HDZ, of our first president Franjo Tudjman, because in recent years we have put the HDZ in the part of the political spectrum where he always put it and always wanted it, he added.

"This transformation was supported both in intra-party elections and today's parliamentary election. That's why we know we are on the right track both for Croatia's values and progress."

Plenkovic thanked everyone for the result and the HDZ's victory today, including voters.

"Whether they gave (the vote) to us, who have won the majority confidence, whether they gave it to some other parties they felt have the best solutions for Croatia. That's what democracy is, an expression of the people's will on which course Croatia should take."

He said this victory was an obligation "because we had a difficult term, full of temptations, and the challenges ahead are likely to be more difficult."

Such circumstances demand work, energy, enthusiasm, drive and dedication, he added. "They also demand responsibility, knowledge and experience. We tried to synthesise all that in our platform and in our candidates."

For more coverage of the 2020 Croatian elections, follow the dedicated TCN section

Monday, 6 July 2020

HDZ Wins 66 Seats after Nearly 95% of Polling Stations Processed

ZAGREB, July 6, 2020 - The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) has scored a convincing victory in Sunday's parliamentary election, winning 66 seats, while the Social Democratic Party-led Restart Coalition has won 41, the State Election Commission said in the early hours of Monday after processing 94.90% of polling stations.

The Homeland Movement has won 16 seats, the Bridge party eight and the green-left coalition led by the We Can! platform seven.

The coalition of the Party with a First and Last Name, Pametno and Fokus has won three seats, while the Croatian People's Party (HNS) and Reformists have each won one.

These results comprise the votes of 46.62% of the electorate.

HDZ - 66

Restart Coalition - 41

Homeland Movement - 6

MOST - 8

Mozemo - 7

Pametno, Fokus, SSIP - 3

HNS - 1

Reformisti - 1

For more election coverage, follow the dedicated TCN link


Sunday, 5 July 2020

Croatian Elections 2020: Exit Poll Results

July 5, 2020 - The 2020 Croatian elections were held today in Croatia, amidst the coronavirus-crisis. We bring you the latest on the exit polls and the official results.

21:00 Updated exit poll:

HDZ - 70

Restart Coalition - 42

Miroslav Škoro's Domovinski pokret - 15

Možemo! - 5

Most - 6

Pametno - 2

HSS - 2

Reformisti - 2

20:00 Updated exit poll:

HDZ - 62

Restart Coalition - 43

Miroslav Škoro's Domovinski pokret - 14

Možemo! - 8

Most - 9

Pametno - 3

HSS - 1

Exit polls: At 7 pm, when the Croatian parliamentary elections 2020 closed, the results of the exit polls were published. The results are as follows: 

HDZ - 61

Restart Coalition - 44

Miroslav Škoro's Domovinski pokret - 16

Možemo! - 8

Most - 8

Pametno - 3

Results at 01:00, with 95% of the votes counted:

HDZ - 66

Restart Coalition - 41

Miroslav Škoro's Domovinski pokret - 16

Možemo! - 7

Most - 8

Pametno, Fokus, SSIP - 3

HNS - 1

Reformisti - 1 

Update (5 pm): In the parliamentary elections of 2016, almost 38 percent of the voters voted before 4:30 pm. Today,  that number is significantly lower, 34.04 percent of the voters.

Update (3 pm): The State Electoral Commission reported that by 11:30, 18.09% of the voters already cast their votes, which is not a significant reduction compared to the 2016 elections. 

The tenth Croatian Parliament since independence in the early nineties was elected in Croatia today, in the election strongly influenced by the different consequences of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 in Croatia and worldwide. The polls suggested that we would, once again, have elections with unclear results, and it was obvious that the worldwide crisis will influence both the number of people voting and the final results. After a legal battle, the voters infected with the coronavirus were allowed to cast their votes, and the entire voting process is overshadowed by the epidemiological measures. 

Saturday, 4 July 2020

DIP Says Has Received Few Complaints About Electioneering Ban Violation

ZAGREB, July 4, 2020 - Electoral silence, which is in force in Croatia on Saturday and Sunday, has been violated fewer times than at previous elections, Hina has learned from the State Electoral Commission (DIP).

Citizens have been complaining mostly about text messages and posts on social networks, seeking protection of personal data, and wondering how some election participants got their addresses to send them election-related mail, DIP deputy chair Vesna Fabijancic-Krizanic said.

Depending on the character of those complaints, DIP forwards them to the HAKOM regulatory authority for network industries or the Personal Data Protection Agency (AZOP).

We cannot say that the number of complaints is large, there have been much fewer complaints compared to previous elections, Fabijancic-Krizanic said.

Violations of the electioneering ban do not carry any penalties, but DIP has called for ethical behavior on the part of election participants and the media.

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