Fewer Deputy Mayors to be Elected in Next Local Election

Total Croatia News



ZAGREB, Dec 15, 2020 – During the next local election in May 2021, Croats will elect 568 fewer deputy mayors than there are now and about 10% fewer councillors which, for example, means that the Zagreb City Assembly will have 47 councillors instead of the current 51, the parliament decided on Tuesday.

Lawmakers, by a majority vote, adopted amendments to the law on local and regional government (77 yeas, 55 nays), the law on local elections (78 yeas, 47 nays, 3 abstentions) and on the City of Zagreb (78 yeas, 51 nays).

Even though the government originally proposed to reduce the number of deputy mayors by 618, the final law will mean that the position of 568 deputy mayors will no longer exist after an amendment was lodged by the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) caucus which stipulates that cities with more than 10,000 residents can have a deputy mayor while the previous threshold was more than 35,000 residents as initially proposed.

However, smaller towns will be allowed to appoint an acting deputy who can replace mayors for longer absences. That decision can be changed during the term in office.

Saving of almost half a billion kuna in four years

The law also includes a provision that ethnic minority lawmakers insisted on, whereby mayors can appoint their deputy from an ethnic minority or Croatian deputy in municipalities with a larger ethnic minority population.

Fewer deputy mayors, fewer councillors and limiting the amount of their salaries will lead to a saving of HRK 115 million kuna a year, Justice and Public Administration Minister, Ivan Malenica has said and in four years at the end of this government’s term that saving could amount to almost half a billion kuna.

Two opposition parties — the Bridge and the Homeland Movement — regretted that the government, that is, the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration, failed to introduce some novelties and the originally announced reforms.

What we have been witnessing in the past is a farce as far as reforms are concerned, because by the time the government, parliament, public consultation is completed, we no longer even have the ‘r’ of reforms, Bridge leader Bozo Petrov said calling out Minister Malenica for ‘giving in’ and returning deputy mayors. You could have saved on salaries which now account for one-fifth of their revenue, cut them by 15% and in that way done away with those looking only to feather their nests, said Petrov.

 Miroslav Skoro of the Homeland Movement recalled that a few days ago the ministry presented a wish list, however in the meantime these “amendments appeared,” which sends everything back to the start. The public should know that the ruling coalition as it is now cannot implement reforms because the government is compelled to make concessions and Croatia will hibernate and stagnate for the next three years, said Skoro.


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