Sunday, January 18, 2004

East is Black

Today's elections for Osijek-Baranja County Assembly were the first major test of Croatian political parties' popularity following general elections in November. The results (based on data collected on 342 out of 442 polling stations) show that the Croatian right-wing continues to win new ground and continues to do with a vengeance. HDZ has won 35,84 % of the vote, and this was hardly a surprise – that party fares well in the easternmost part of Croatia. But the surprise – nasty to many – is the second place of far right HSP, which has won 14,76 %. Parties belonging to former governing coalition of Ivica Račan (Ivica Racan) – won only 12,1 %. Other parties to break 5% limit and enter Assembly are HSU (pensioners) with 7,05%, LS - whose leader and charismatic mayor of Osijek Zlatko Kramarić (Zlatko Kramaric) enjoys great deal of popularity in that party of the country – has won 6,06%; HSS has won 5,81 %.

Based on these results, HDZ has won elections and power in Osijek-Baranja County. The only question is whether it would create right-wing coalition with HSP or try to keep its "gentler and kinder" national image by aligning with less problematic partners on local level (HSU and HSS are the most likely candidates).

UPDATE: SDS, Serb nationalist party, was very close to entering Assembly with 4,60 % of the votes. Sanader's allies – DC and HSLS – also failed to get to Assembly, winning 3,11 and 2,03 % of the votes respectively.

I guess that many commentators would explain the surge of HSP with Osijek-Baranja County voters reacting to the good results of Radicals at Serbian elections.

UPDATE: According to latest results, SDSS has won 5,4 % and slipped into Assembly.

Total breakdown of seats (48 total):
HDZ - 20 (+1 filling Serbian minority quota)
HSP - 8
SDP/HNS/Libra/SBHS - 6
HSU - 4
LS - 3
HSS - 3
SDSS - 3


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