ZAGREB, May 19, 2020 – On this day 29 years ago, Croatia, which was at the time one of federal republics in the Socialist Yugoslav Federation, held a referendum on its independence in which the lion’s share of voters supported plans for the country’s independence and sovereignty.
The outcome of the 19 May 1991 referendum paved the way for the parliamentary decisions on severing ties with the communist Yugoslav Federation and on gaining the country’s independence and sovereignty.
Several weeks after the referendum, that is, on 25 June 1991, the Sabor adopted the constitutional decision on the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Croatia.
A decision to hold the referendum had been made by President Franjo Tudjman during negotiations on solving the crisis in relations between the republics that made up the then Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).
The referendum offered two options. The first asked voters if they were in favour of Croatia becoming a sovereign and independent state, guaranteeing cultural autonomy and civil rights to Serbs and other minorities in Croatia, free to form an association of sovereign states with other former Yugoslav republics. The second option asked voters whether they would prefer for Croatia to remain in Yugoslavia.
The electoral roll included 3,652,225 eligible voters who could go to the polls in 7,691 polling stations.
The question for the independence was answered in the affirmative by 2,845,521 voters, that is 93.24% of the 3,051,881 voters who went to the polls. There were 126,630 people who voted against independence (4.15%). And, there were 1.18% invalid ballots.