Some important changes to Croatian electoral law.
A working group at the Ministry of Justice should soon finalize the changes to the Law on Legal Consequences, Criminal Records and Rehabilitation. The working group is expected to complete the work on amendments, which will be followed by a period of public consultations, before the amendments go to the parliament, according to a report in Novi List on August 3, 2105.
Without these changes, the State Electoral Commission will not be able to confirm the validity of the candidate lists for the parliamentary elections. Prior amendments to the Election Law provide that the parties must not nominate persons for whom a period of rehabilitation for the most serious crimes has not been completed, as well as persons who are sentenced to unconditional prison sentences longer than six months and at the time of the elections are serving the sentence or are waiting to start serving. Without changes to the law, neither the SEC nor the candidates cannot obtain the confirmation that the person is allowed to be a candidate.
The State Electoral Commission must know whether each nominated person on the list fulfills the requirements to be a candidate, because without it, it cannot confirm the list. If a candidate on a list is subject to the prohibition, the list will be declared invalid.
The electoral law was changed in mid-February, and the discussion in parliament was very lively. At first, the public was focused on provisions on minimum gender quotas and the introduction of preferential voting. However, SDP decided to incorporate a provision on requirements for candidates.
It was proposed that a person who has been convicted to a prison sentence longer than six months would not be able to be a candidate until the end of rehabilitation period. This proposal became known as “Lex Čačić”, because it would prevent former deputy prime minister Radimir Čačić to be a candidate, since his rehabilitation period would not have been completed. The compromise amendment, which was finally adopted, was proposed by Mirela Holy, the president of the ORaH Party.
The provision prohibiting the candidature exists only for parliamentary elections, while the other elections do not have such restrictions.