International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Croatia's HDZ Declares Local Election Victory

Croatia's main opposition party, the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, declared victory after Sunday's polls, although second-round run-off votes are to be held in the country's four biggest cities.
 “We have reasons to be happy - we won,” HDZ president Tomislav Karamarko said after the elections.

So far the HDZ has taken eight out of 20 country prefects and three out of 120 cities, and is confident of adding to its gains in the second round of voting in the local elections on June 2.

According to the country's local elections law, if no candidate wins more than 50 per cent of the vote, the two leaders in the polls take part in a second-round run-off two weeks afterwards.

Noting that the HDZ was also successful at elections for the European parliament held April 14, Karamarko vowed that the party would also be victorious in parliamentary polls in autumn this year.

The ruling Social Democratic Party’s president Zoran Milanovic refrained from making any statements on Sunday after the polls closed.

In the capital Zagreb, current mayor Milan Bandic, who has already held the position for 13 years, won 46 per cent of the vote, and has a good chance to win the second round run-off against the Social Democrats’ candidate Rajko Ostojic, who got 24 per cent.

The country’s second-largest city Split saw the biggest electoral surprise, as populist mayor Zeljko Kerum lost the vote, polling lower than Social Democrat Ivo Baldasar and HDZ's candidate Vjekoslav Ivanisevic.

In Rijeka, Social Democrat mayor Vojko Obersnel failed to achieve outright victory with 49 per cent, but retains the chance of winning in the second round against HDZ candidate Hrvoje Buric.

The current mayor of Osijek Kresimir Bubalo, a member of Croatian Democratic Assembly of Slavonia and Baranja, a party founded by convicted war criminal Branimir Glavas, got 38 per cent of the vote, and will run off against centre-left Ivica Vrkic, who got 27 percent.

The city of Vukovar’s mayor Zeljko Sabo won 42 per cent of the vote, scoring ahead of the man he will face in the second round, HDZ candidate Ivan Penava.

Analysts agreed that the elections showed the further decline of the ruling Social Democratic Party.

"This is a relative victory for the HDZ and the absolute defeat of the Social Democrats’ president Zoran Milanovic," analyst Davor Gjenero said.

Former Social Democratic Party government spokesperson Aleksandra Kolaric said that the party had been hit by a "political deluge".

"Social Democratic voters stayed at home and therefore the Social Democrats lost big cities," she said.
Boris Pavelic

Source: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/croatia-s-hdz-procclaims-local-elections-victory



isn eth zurichBSAdsNATOCentral and Eastern European Online LibraryEurActiv | European Union Information Website