Saturday, 22 May 2021

PM: HDZ Is Centre-Right Party, Voters Should Vote According to Their Conscience

ZAGREB, 22 May 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Saturday that his HDZ party was a centre-right, state-building, patriotic, people's, Christian democratic party, calling on voters to vote in the second round of local elections in Zagreb on 30 May according to their conscience.

"The party's position has not changed... we know our values and platform. We respect our voters and recommend that they vote according to their conscience in the runoff," Plenković said during a visit to Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.

Asked which of the two candidates for the Zagreb mayor, Tomislav Tomašević or Miroslav Škoro, would be easier to cooperate with, Plenković said that he respected voters' will.

"Whoever wins voters' trust is a collocutor to me as the prime minister. We have been pursuing a policy of balanced regional development in all parts of Croatia. It was never a problem for me to talk to representatives who are in the opposition at the national level and are in power in some part of the country. The same will apply to Zagreb," he said.

Vaccination as a way to achieve a better tourist season

Asked if current epidemiological restrictions could be relaxed sooner, that is on 27 May, as demanded by restaurant and bar owners, Plenković said that the epidemiological situation would be discussed in the coming week.

"The figures are very, very good. Compared to the week before, there are fewer infections, the number of people who have got vaccinated is growing, and vaccination provides protection against the worst outcomes. We must make decisions that will help maintain the current good trends and not jeopardise the tourist season," he said.

Plenković recalled that of the epidemiological restrictions, the only ones to remain in force were bans on events and gatherings of more than 25 people, on stay in indoor areas of restaurants and bars, and on indoor sport activities. As for everything else, we have been living more or less normally while other countries have had major restrictions, Plenković said.

Speaking of the tourist season, he said that it was up to Croatia to create conditions, through the vaccination of tourism workers and other workers in the services sector, that will help visitors stay safe.

Germany's decision very good, first wave of tourists in July

Germany has taken Croatia off the red list of countries with a high risk of coronavirus, and as of midnight on Sunday, Croatia will no longer be considered a high-risk but a risk region.

Commenting on this, Plenković said that the decision was good because Germany was one of Croatia's biggest tourist markets.

He noted that he had been in touch with state officials from other countries whose citizens could hardly wait to visit Croatia again and that the first bigger tourist wave was expected in July.

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

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Electoral Roll to be Updated by Next Election

ZAGREB, 19 May, 2021 - Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said on Wednesday that by the time of the next election the electoral roll will have been cleaned up, following comments by reporters that it does not reflect the real number of voters considering how many people have emigrated but are still registered.

There are 3,660,165 voters registered in the electoral roll that the ministry has for the local election on 16 May, with 60,000 fewer eligible voters compared to the election in 2017, Malenica told reporters.

"Naturally, there are certain situations when the relevant bodies cannot determine whether a certain person has residency in Croatia. That is up to them to determine and that is a data that the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration has eliminated as being relevant to the electoral roll," said Malenica.

Asked whether 250,000 Croatians who registered in Germany in 2013 had cancelled their registration in Croatia, Malenica briefly said that that question should be sent to the Interior Ministry.

He believes however, that it is necessary to check the relevancy of data in the electoral roll against the population census and residency and address people are registered at.

Asked whether he would propose for the electoral roll to be audited, because it is constantly being said that too few people take to the polls, Malenica said that regulations would be changed before the next election and that the electoral roll would be updated.

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Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Local Elections Main Topic in Croatian Parliament

ZAGREB, 19 May, 2021 - Sunday's local elections were the main topic of speeches in the Croatian parliament on Wednesday morning.

Dalija Orešković, speaking on behalf of the Civic Liberal Alliance (GLAS) and Centre group, said that the results of the vote showed that citizens were becoming aware that government could be changed. She urged the opposition in parliament to begin dialogue on the reform of the electoral legislation and administrative structure of Croatia.

"We have three years ahead of us to reform electoral legislation and electoral units to make them constitutional and fair, to ensure that each vote counts equally, and to reduce the number of counties, towns and municipalities," Orešković said.

She congratulated "all new progressive forces that made it into the second round of elections, thus threatening the survival of the petrified and corrupt structures of the existing government."

Andreja Marić of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) warned of double standards used by the national coronavirus response team, which allowed the opening of the borders on election day despite the epidemiological criteria in place.

"What kind of message does that send to the public? How can we expect people to comply with the measures if such decisions that mock us all are made?" Marić asked.

She recalled that medical professionals had warned that they expected a rise in the number of new infections in the next three weeks as a result of this decision. "The ruling parties heed only messages that suit them politically," Marić said.

Silvano Hrelja of the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) and Croatian Pensioners' Party (HSU) group drew attention to the low turnout. "Those most dissatisfied again stayed at home," he said.

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Tuesday, 18 May 2021

70 Cities Elect Mayors in 1st Round of Elections

ZAGREB, 18 May, 2021 - During the local elections held throughout Croatia on 16 May, a total of 70 cities managed to elect their heads in the first round of voting, while others will have mayoral runoffs on 30 May.

Of those 70 mayors, who clinched the victory in the first round of voting when they gained the support of more than 50% of the voters who turned out for the elections, 36 winners are from the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), or six fewer than in 2017, whereas 13 Social Democratic Party (SDP) mayoral candidates gained outright victory, or one more than in the first round of the local elections in 2017.

Seven female mayors winners in first round

Of those 70 mayors elected in the first round of the elections, seven are women.

According to the report provided by the gradonač portal, there is a rising trend in the election of mayoral candidates who are not members of political parties and who are introduced as independent candidates. Ten independent mayors were elected on Sunday.

Donja Stubica mayor reelected with support of more than 83% of voters

Of the winners with an outright victory on 16 May, the most successful mayor who managed to gain the largest support was independent Nikola Gospočić, who was reelected for another term in Donja Stubica with 83.01% of the voters who went to the polls voting for him. In the previous term, he was a member of the SDP party and left it before these elections.

Another independent mayor, Dinko Burić, won 82.15% of the support for his new mayoral term in the eastern city of Belišće.

In terms of the percentage of support, Darijo Vasilić of the regional PGS party ranks third, winning 80.26% of votes for another mayoral term in the City of Krk.

Of the regional parties, the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) remains the strongest. In the first round of the voting, five IDS candidates were elected mayors.

Four biggest cities to have mayoral runoffs


Tomislav Tomašević of the We Can!, New Left, ORAH and For the City coalition took the lead in the mayoral race for Zagreb on Sunday, winning 45% of votes, and will face-off with Miroslav Škoro of the Homeland Movement party (12%) in the second round of the elections.


In the biggest Croatian Adriatic city, Ivica Puljak (Centre) and Vice Mihanović (HDZ) will face off in the 30 May runoff. Puljak won 26.82% and Mihanović 23.23%.


In the northern coastal city of Rijeka, the current deputy mayor Marko Filipović (SDP, HSU, IDS, HSS) won 30.25% of votes, followed by independent Davor Štimac (16.10%).


In the eastern city of Osijek, Ivan Radić (HDZ) won nearly 39% of votes, ahead of independent Berislav Mlinarević, backed by the Homeland Movement and Bridge (about 20%), and they will vie in the second round of the elections on 30 May.

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

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Rijeka: SDP-led Coalition Wins 11 Seats in City Council - Exit Polls

ZAGREB, 16 May, 2021 - The coalition led by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) won 11 of 31 seats in the Rijeka City Council, or 29.40% of the vote, in local elections on Sunday, exit polls showed.

The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) received 16.76% (6 seats), followed by the Independent Slate of Davor Štimac on 10.98% (4 seats), the Bridge party on 10.002% (3 seats), the We Can!-New Left coalition on 8.001% (3 seats), the PGS-Labour coalition on 7.95% (2 seats) and the Youth Action-Kvarner Union-Alternativa coalition on 6.61% (2 seats).

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Sunday, 16 May 2021

Osijek: HDZ Wins 15 Seats in 31-seat Council - Exit Polls

ZAGREB, 16 May 2021 - According to the latest exit polls, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) slate won 42.49% of the vote in Osijek in Sunday's local election, that is 15 seats in the 31-seat council of that biggest eastern Croatian city.

The coalition of the Homeland Movement (DP) and the Bridge party follows with 18.76% of the vote and six seats in the council.

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) ranked third with 15.40% of the vote, which means it could have five seats in the local legislature.

The Snaga SiB party won 6.72% of the vote, thus securing two seats. The We Can party can also count on two councilors, winning 6.04% of the vote.

The HNS, HSS and Reformists coalition would have one seat after this coalition won 5.24% of the vote, according to the exit polls.

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

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Exit Polls for Local Elections in 4 Biggest Cities: Mayoral Runoffs Likely on 30 May

ZAGREB, 16 May, 2021 - Croatia held local elections on Sunday for 425 municipal and 127 city councils, 20 county assemblies and the Zagreb City Assembly, and exit polls released after the closing of polling stations at 7 pm show that the four largest cities will have a mayoral runoff on 30 May.


In the capital, the mayoral candidate of the We Can! and Zagreb is Ours political groups, Tomislav Tomašević, mustered 48.6% of the vote, with the runner-up Jelena Pavičević Vukičević of the Labour and Solidarity Party winning 11.5%.


In this southern coastal city, Ivica Puljak of the Centre party won 27.4% ahead of Vice Mihanović of the HDZ with 23.4%.


In this northern Adriatic port city, exit polls put the SDP's Marko Filipović in the lead with 29.9%, with independent candidate Davor Štimac trailing at 16.3%.


In the largest eastern city, the HDZ's Ivan Radić won the first round of the vote, capturing 41.4%, and will face Berislav Mlinarević, supported by the Homeland Movement ad the Bridge, who took 19.2. %, in the 30 May runoff.

The exit poll was conducted by the Ipsos Puls agency.

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Sunday, 16 May 2021

Ministry: Number of Arrivals on Election Day Similar to Two Previous Sundays

ZAGREB, 16 May 2021 - On election day, between midnight and noon, 892 Croatian nationals entered Croatia on the grounds of compelling personal reasons, which is similar to the average number of entries last Sunday and two weeks ago, the Ministry of the Interior said on Sunday.  

On 2 May, 724 Croatians entered the country and on 9 May 683 did so.

The ministry said that delays on some border crossings on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia were due to passengers returning after a long weekend in some EU member-countries, and passenger traffic was also more intense on border crossings between Croatia and Slovenia.

With regard to inquiries about the arrival of Croatian nationals with the right to vote in local elections, regardless of the country they come from, the ministry recalls that the decision currently in force that bans or restricts border crossing defines exceptions in cases of compelling personal reasons, the right to vote being one of them.

It notes that persons travelling for compelling persons reasons must not stay in Croatia for more than 12 hours and that if they do not leave within that period, they are subject to epidemiological restrictions defined by the decision in force. 

The ministry recalls that during their stay in Croatia all passengers, regardless of their category or the country they come from, are obliged to comply with general and special recommendations and instructions by the Croatian Public Health Institute.

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Sunday, 16 May 2021

NGO Says Elections Proceeding Peacefully, but with Numerous Voter Complaints

ZAGREB, 16 May, 2021 - The GONG election-monitoring NGO said that voting in Sunday's local elections by noon was relatively peaceful but with numerous complaints from citizens.

The complaints referred to violations of election silence, complaints regarding the work of electoral committees, and there were also inquiries about some polling stations that had been relocated and about the possibility of voting for people in self-isolation or people who are ill, GONG said.

The NGO said that in the first couple of hours after the opening of polling stations it received a dozen complaints about electoral committees asking voters if they wanted to vote only for mayoral candidates or for other slates as well.

"GONG informed local election commissions about this and they told us that this was not an instruction or an intentional act of discouraging voters. They noted that they had been informed of such cases and that they warned electoral committees that they should offer all voters all ballots," GONG said.

The NGO also asked the State Election Commission (DIP) to investigate text messages and messages on social networks in which the transport of voters from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia's coastal town of Makarska is being arranged, and which also mention providing supporters of one political party with transport and lunch.

GONG also said that other complaints referred mostly to violations of election silence, primarily on social networks, and that it received a complaint from a political party saying that fake text messages were being sent to voters on its behalf. The case was reported to DIP.

DIP spokesman: Normal election day

DIP spokesman Slaven Hojski said that election day was normal with regard to complaints and reports of irregularities.

Most of the complaints refer to posts on social networks and violations of election silence, he said.

He noted that tension was running high among political parties which accused one another of doing something to compromise the other side.

The DIP spokesman also said that several text messages were blocked via the HAKOM regulator.

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Sunday, 16 May 2021

Local Elections: Turnout by Noon 15.47%

ZAGREB, 16 May, 2021 - A total of 15.47% of Croatians went to the polls in Sunday's local elections by noon, which is almost the same turnout as in the 2017 local election, when 15.98% of voters had voted by noon, the State Election Commission said.

The commission will release new information on the turnout at 5 pm.

The highest turnouts were reported in Lika-Senj County (21%), Dubrovnik-Neretva County (19%) and Varaždin County (17.4%).

Sisak-Moslavina County, struck by a strong earthquake on 29 December, also had a rather good turnout, of 16.7%.

Of the four big cities, the highest turnout was reported in Zagreb (15.4%), followed by Split (14.4%), Osijek (13%) and Rijeka (12.4%).

A total of 3.660 million voters have the right to vote in elections for local self-government units and they can do so at 6,572 polling stations.

Voters will decide about the make-up of 425 municipal and 127 city councils, 20 county assemblies and the Zagreb City Assembly. They will also elect mayors and county heads, some 70 deputy mayors and county heads from the ranks of ethnic minorities and about a dozen deputy officials from the ranks of the Croat people in the municipalities where Croats are in the minority.

Polling stations are open from 7 am to 7 pm, until when election silence is in force.

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