ZAGREB, February 2, 2019 – The State Election Commission (DIP) has completed work on a single election law regulating, in one place, election institutes that are currently defined by different laws.
The single election bill also regulates all elections (presidential, parliamentary, European, local), except for those for ethnic minority representatives and ethnic minority councils, DIP deputy chair Vesna Fabijančić-Križanić said.
Fabijančić-Križanić cited some of the specific solutions in the bill, including one of preferential voting, which according to Public Administration Minister Lovro Kuščević is also to be introduced for local elections.
“The political will for that type of voting, with as many options as possible, is evident, and that is technically a fairly demanding mission,” Fabijančić-Križanić said, noting that this reflected on the size of the ballot, which many colloquially call “blanket”.
The DIP has proposed that the ballot be the size of an A4 paper sheet. Political parties taking part in elections would be listed in alphabetical order on the left side of the ballot, while on the right side there would be boxes where voters would enter the number or numbers of their preferred candidate(s).
The candidates’ numbers would be copied from a booklet that would be available in every voting booth.
The other DIP deputy chair, Ana Lovrin, too, advocates this solution as practicable. She says that its practicability would be particularly evident in local elections, for which preferential voting is to be introduced as well, and where local assemblies sometimes have as many as 45 members.
The DIP has proposed that the ban on election candidacy be applied in the same way for all types of elections because currently it applies only to parliamentary and local elections, in which persons sentenced to a minimum six-month prison term (including conditional sentences) cannot run.
Under the bill proposed by the DIP, the Ethics Commission, which follows elections for the Croatian parliament and the European Parliament, would also monitor presidential elections.
Under the bill, voter committees would have the same number of members while now in some elections they have ten members and in presidential elections six.
The DIP has proposed that voter committees have eight members in all elections – a non-party president and their deputy, and three members each from the ruling and opposition parties.
The DIP also proposes harmonising the practice with regard to the entry into force of the decision on calling elections.
This is very important for the election process because election activities start on the day following the day when the decision entered into force, and in some cases that decision entered into force on the day of its adoption while in other cases it entered into force on the day of its publication in the Official Gazette, which caused technical problems in the implementation of elections.
The DIP proposes what it believes is the optimal solution for election participants and election bodies – that election activities start five days after the entry into force of the decision on calling elections.
It also proposes introducing penalties for violating the media blackout in all elections as such penalties are currently not envisaged for presidential elections.
The DIP has also developed an application to enable political actors to submit to it, by e-mail, their financial statements, regular or electoral, and it hopes they will start doing so as of this spring already.
Once the application comes to life, the DIP will publish all financial reports it receives on its website.
The bill, which has been sent to the Public Administration Ministry, is a solid basic document and when policy-makers decide to introduce changes, they will have good institutes for that in our bill, Fabijančić-Križanić and Lovrin said.
More news on the elections in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.