Sunday, 16 May 2021

Polling Stations Open for Local Elections

ZAGREB, 16 May 2021 - Polling stations were opened in Croatia on Sunday morning for local elections at which 3.660 million voters will be able to cast their ballots for local government bodies, mayors and county heads. 

A total of 6,572 polling stations will be open from 7 am to 7 pm, and their closing will mark the end of two-day election silence.

Nearly 39,000 candidates are running in the elections and their average age is 45, according to statistics released by the State Election Commission (DIP).

All Croatian citizens over the age of 18, including EU citizens, who have residency in local and regional government units where the elections are taking place, have the right to vote.

Voters will be able to vote only in their place of residence, and not elsewhere in Croatia or abroad.

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.

In Sunday's elections, fewer deputy mayors and members of representative bodies will be elected than in 2017. The new Zagreb City Assembly will thus have 47 instead of 51 members.

The voting process has been organised in line with anti-epidemic measures.

The State Election Commission will publish information on the turnout twice, at noon and at 5 pm, and as of 9 pm it will be publishing preliminary elections results.

The elections will be overseen by more than 10,500 monitors.

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

Saturday, 15 May 2021

Election Silence in Force Ahead of Sunday's Local Polls

oZAGREB, 15 May 2021 - Election silence began at 0000 hours on Saturday ahead of Sunday's local polls at which 3.660 million voters are eligible to elect authorities in 576 units of local government.

Election silence is in force until 7pm on Sunday when polling stations close. During this time it is prohibited to publicly present platforms, persuade voters to vote for a slate or candidate, or publish estimates or unofficial election results.

The State Electoral Commission has called on all participants in the elections as well as physical and legal entities and media to respect election silence.

Fines for breaching it range from HRK 3,000 for physical persons, i.e. any citizen, to HRK 500,000 for legal persons, a political party for example. Candidates who breach election silence may be fined HRK 10,000-30,000.

Breaches are reported to local electoral commissions.

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

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Milanović: Government's Proposal on Sunday Work an Election Gimmick

May 8, 2021 -  President Zoran Milanović on Saturday reiterated his view on Sunday work, saying that the government's plan to ban Sunday work partly was an election gimmick. 

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced amendments to the Commerce Act on Thursday, under which the number of Sunday shopping days would be limited to 16 a year. He said that the move was not contrary to the government's desire for greater employment and higher growth, stressing the need to balance work and family life.

Answering questions from the press during a visit to the eastern city of Đakovo, Milanović said that the government's proposal was insincere. "It's always the same election gimmick by the government. They don't need it. Again, it won't change anything," the President said.

"People work from morning to night, and they don't have time to go shopping" except on Sundays, he said, noting that he personally would prefer if shopping centers were closed on Sundays, "but that is not about work." He said that another problem was that "we would be telling people when they can go to the shops." 

Milanović said that he personally does not go shopping on Sundays but that he is aware that most people "do not have this comfort."

Asked to comment on the union's proposal for workers who are not union members to be taxed, Milanović said that he generally supported the work of the unions, particularly those in private companies.

"However, this has become very difficult because of atomization. People used to work in large companies, and it was relatively easy to organize them, while that is more difficult today. This is now reduced to public-sector unions in which fewer people work because most work in the private sector. If the unions are weak, the employers will trample them. The state is still the most decent employer," Milanović said, reiterating that "in the end, it all boils down to the trade unions in the public sector, state administration, and hospitals."

For more, follow our politics section.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

13 Million Ballot Slips to be Printed For 16 May Local Elections

ZAGREB, 5 May, 2021 - The Official Gazette's printing office in Zagreb started printing 13.7 million ballot slips for the coming local election on May 16 and this project costs about HRK 4.5 million.

There are 1,232 different voting slips that need to be printed for the election of county prefects, mayors, county and city assemblies.

In addition to ballot slips, forms to take minutes and procedures by election committees also need to be prepared including ballot boxes and cardboard screens for ballot booths.

The State Electoral Commission (DIP) is expected to release instructions on Friday regarding epidemiological measures during the election.

Anti-epidemic rules could be more stringent in comparison to last year's parliamentary election and masks will probably be compulsory at polling stations as will keeping a distance of at least 2 metres.

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

Friday, 30 April 2021

Over 38,000 Candidates To Run in Croatia's Local Elections

ZAGREB, 30 April, 2021 - More than 38,000 candidates have submitted their nominations for executive and representative positions in the 16 May local elections, State Electoral Commission (DIP) president Đuro Sessa told a press conference on Friday.

Sessa reported on the number of submitted slates and nominations as the filing deadline expired at midnight.

There are 7,104 candidates on the slates for county assemblies, including the City of Zagreb, which has the status of a county, and 28,867 candidates on the slates for city and municipal councils.

A total of 225 people are running for county prefects and their deputies, including the candidates for Zagreb mayor and deputy mayor, and 1,901 candidates are in the race for municipal heads and mayors, including their deputies.

Eleven candidates running for mayors of Split and Rijeka

In Split and Rijeka there are 11 mayoral candidates, ten candidates are running for Zagreb mayor and seven for Osijek mayor.

After local electoral commissions announce valid nominations, electioneering will officially start in counties, cities and municipalities, and will last until midnight on 14 May, when a two-day electioneering ban starts.

The Saturday before the elections and the election Sunday are days of election silence, and the same rule will apply in the second round of the vote, to be held on 30 May.

There will be 6,572 polling stations, and each polling committee will have ten members, Sessa said.

Twenty-five tents to be set up for elections in earthquake-struck Banovina

The conduct of local elections has also been ensured in the earthquake-hit area.

Twenty-five tents will be set up the day before the elections in places where it is not possible to have polling stations inside buildings, said Sessa, adding that there will be eight tents in Glina, seven in Petrinja, four in Sisak, and three each in Donji Kukuruzari and Majur.

He called on voters to adhere to epidemiological measures.

He also confirmed that voters from the Banovina region who had moved away after the earthquake would not be able to cast their vote in another location, adding that he understands their problem but that it is not legally possible to conduct the elections differently.

There will be 14 million ballots in the elections and the organisation would be too difficult logistically, he said.

He recalled that all participants would have to enter their reports on advertising spending in a special IT system, which is a novelty in these elections. They will have to do that seven days before the elections and 30 days after them, Sessa said, noting that all data on finances will be released in one place, DIP's website.

Infected persons and those in self-isolation to vote under same conditions as in July

Persons in self-isolation and those infected with coronavirus will vote in the same way they did in July in the parliamentary elections. Polling committee members will come to their homes, and those infected will be able to cast their vote with the help of another person to avoid contact between polling committee members and an infected person, the DIP president said.

DIP spokesman Slaven Hojski said the election results would be released on election day starting from 9 p.m. and would be updated every 15 minutes.

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



Tuesday, 16 March 2021

The State Electoral Commission (DIP) Tells Donors to Respect Law, Take Note of Allowable Amounts for Electioneering

ZAGREB, 16 March, 2021 - The State Electoral Commission (DIP) has advised companies and citizens who intend to make a donation to participants running in the May local election, to respect the law and take note of the maximum allowable amount that may be donated.

All physical and legal persons intending to donate money, products or services are obliged to register all the relevant information and should be issued with a receipt by the recipient party or independent slate.

Donors must not have any debts to the state or local authorities.

If donations are made in products, then the value of these must be identified.

The maximum amount of a donation for physical entities is HRK 30,000 and for legal entities HRK 200,000. Donations can be made once or in several instalments and must be pad into a separate electioneering account.

Contracts for donations greater than HRK 5,000

Donations of HRK 5,000 or more require a contract to be concluded between the donor and recipient (party or independent slate).

DIP has published guidelines regarding the financing of electioneering which are available at its website.

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

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Croatia Heads to Polls to Elect New Parliament

ZAGREB, July 5, 2020 - More than 6,500 polling stations throughout Croatia were opened at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning for the election for the 10th national legislature, and they will be closed at 7 p.m.

There are 3.86 million eligible voters who are electing 151 parliamentary deputies: 140 in ten constituencies, three in a constituency designed for the expatriate community, and eight in Constituency No. 12, intended for ethnic minorities, that is three for Serb representatives and five for another ethnic minorities..

Apart from voting in Croatia, also polling places are being set up for expat communities abroad.

Croatia's tenth parliamentary election began at 11 p.m. on Friday Croatian time as polling stations opened in three Australian cities. The last polling station to open will be in Los Angeles at 4 p.m. on Saturday Croatian time. Almost 185,000 Croatians abroad have registered to vote in the election, the most in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina (50,786).

Also special polling stations are being organised for army personnel on duty, ship crews, as well as for beneficiaries of retirement homes and in prisons.

Around 75,000 poll workers are being engaged in the organisation of the elections, which will be observed by around 8,500 monitors.

They all have to comply with measures introduced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Members of polling committees will have to keep a distance of 1.5 metres from one another and wear face masks. It has been recommended that they wear gloves as well and regularly disinfect their hands.

Before entering the polling station, voters will have to disinfect their hands. They are recommended to wear their own masks at polling stations as well as bring their own pens, even though that is not obligatory. They will enter the polling station one by one, and it is desirable that they wait in the open.

COVID-19 positive persons enabled to vote by proxy

These elections are being organised against a backdrop of COVID-19 epidemic, and currently there are 830 people diagnosed with this infection in the country.

They are enabled to vote by proxy, and some 30 of them have applied for this form of voting, whereby they will be able to vote with the help of another person of their confidence, who will fill in the ballot as instructed by the infected person. After a call from a COVID positive person, a member of the polling committee will come in front of their house or apartment, without coming into direct contact with the infected person. The person of confidence will then fill in the ballot, put it in an envelope and return it to the member of the polling committee outside the apartment.

The State Electoral Commission (DIP) stated on Friday that out of more than 4,000 people currently in self-isolation after being in contact with COVID-19 positive cases, and 476 of them had applied for voting in Sunday's parliamentary elections. This means that 10% of the self-isolated persons have applied for voting.

DIP recently called on voters in self-isolation wishing to vote to contact their local electoral commission by 2 July and apply to vote. Rules for voting for persons in self-isolation are the same as those for illiterate persons, bed-ridden patients, blind or disabled persons - they have to report to the competent polling committee three days before election day at the earliest.

Preferential voting in proportional representation

Deputies are elected according to proportional representation with the possibility of preferential voting. Voters can circle the name of the candidate whom they prefer to all the other candidates on a slate. Preferential votes count only if a candidate on a slate wins at least 10% of the votes won by their slate.

The standard d'Hondt formula is applied to the vote except for the twelfth constituency in which national minority representatives are elected, with a five-percent election threshold in each constituency.

Preliminary election results will be published on DIP's website, beginning at 9 p.m. Sunday, and they will be updated every 15 minutes.

Information on the turnout will be published at noon and 5 p.m. Sunday.

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