Sunday, March 09, 2003

Things to Come?

On the elections for Virovitica City Council, HDZ won 33,85 % of the vote and 8 out of 19 seats. Second best result was by SDP – 12,64 % and 3 seats, while HSS won 11,69 % and 2 seats. HDZ is most likely to form the new administration by combining its seats with those of two right-wing parties – HKDS (7,91 %) and HSP (6,93 %). The elections were called after the collapse of previous administration, dominated by SDP.

It is usually quite futile to predict general political trends on the basis of local elections. When people go to poll on local elections, they tend to vote more for individuals rather than parties, and different ideologies play little part in mundane affairs like waste management and tending public parks. Unlike national elections, independent candidates are often major players (in Virovitica one of such lists gathered 9,24 % and 2 seats).

What makes Virovitica elections significant is the turnout. The turnout in Croatian local elections usually around 10 or 20 %. In Virovitica it was 43,77 %.

This might turn out to be the major boost for HDZ and heavy blow for Račan's (Racan's) governing coalition. Until now, Račan (Racan) could have expected most of his 2000 voters to express their disappointment by staying home. But now it seems that many of them are going to vote for HDZ in order to protest.


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