Parliamentary elections are due soon in Croatia. But when?
Parliamentary elections are fast approaching. Everyone wants to know when will they be held, and when will the new session of the Croatian Parliament begin. The rhythm of speculation is becoming more and more frenetic. The discussions about which Sunday the parliamentary elections will be held began as early as the first days of 2015, and there is hardly a Sunday in the calendar which has not been mentioned as a possible or probable date for the elections, reports Novi List on August 9, 2015.
Parliamentary elections must be called within 60 days after the expiry of the Parliament term, or 60 days after the dissolution of the Parliament. They are called by the President of the Republic. Although the President is the one who will announce the date for the elections, that decision is actually dictated by the parliamentary majority. It decides whether the parliament will dissolve itself early, so the President has a very narrow room for manoeuvre in determining the date.
In February, April 26 and May 17 were being mentioned as possible dates for the elections. Gordan Jandroković, one of the most prominent members of HDZ, concluded at the time that Zoran Milanović will decide the date depending on his own popularity rating. Josip Salapić from HDSSB argued that for the Croatian citizens it would be best to have the elections as soon as possible. That is something that always happens in election years: the opposition wants the government to call elections as soon as possible, and the fact that the government refuses to do so is then characterized as undemocratic behaviour.
According to newspaper reports, the government has mentioned several possible election dates: from the February of next year, which is the final legal deadline for the elections, to the autumn of this year, perhaps November 22. Also, there are reports that the ruling coalition itself cannot come to an agreement. When November 22 was mentioned in “Novi List” as a possible date, an unnamed official from HNS told “Jutarnji List” that it would be best to have the elections on February 14, on Valentine’s Day, so that the ruling coalition could conveniently be called the Coalition of the Heart. In late May, the prime minister and SDP president Zoran Milanović said that there is good chance that the parliamentary elections will be held are the beginning of 2016.
As far as HDZ is concerned, the election date is of an immense importance. HDZ has completed its economic program, but it has not published it yet. It will be done only after SDP publishes its own electoral manifesto and announces the date of the parliamentary elections. HDZ is eagerly waiting to find out the date of the elections so it can start talking about its program. There is little doubt that its electoral manifesto will guarantee the voters progress, prosperity and happiness, just as all party manifestoes always promise.
There is a much bigger problem than the date of the elections which will certainly be held before the final legal deadline, just as Milanović said. However, the elections will not be held according to the law. The size of electoral constituencies has not been adjusted, so the differences between those with the most and least number of voters will again be unacceptably large. However, no one seems to be bothered by that problem.