Thursday, April 15, 2004

Sanader's Best Move?

Sanader's government has announced something that is most probably going to be their best move. They are going to change legislation dealing with local administration and allow mayors and county governors to be elected on the polls rather than indirectly by local and county assemblies.

This move by HDZ is easy to explain with political necessity. Due to local election laws, according to which Ľ of all assemblymen are elected in FPTP districts and ľ proportionally, it is rare for single party to win outright majority of seats. In many cases the only way for HDZ to have its own mayors and county governors is through coalition, and due to specific political circumstances in many regions of Croatia, those coalitions are often based more on tribal line and business interests than ideological similarities. For HDZ that means that their local coalitions are often bizarre (and embarrassing) compared with the coalition on national level – in some areas HDZ has to share power with far right party like HSP, in others with Serb nationalists while in some areas even with their national rivals like HNS.

New rules should put stop to that. With mayors being elected directly HDZ is more likely to broaden his influence over local affairs, because HDZ candidates are most likely to be elected (although new rules might, especially in isolated rural areas, benefit independent candidates) and not depend on minor league parties. Furthermore, directly elected mayors are less likely to be brought down by the collapse of local assembly coalitions.

Split might be a town to benefit from this. Most of our citizens are awaiting Split City Assembly session on April 22nd to find out whether mayor Miroslav Buličiă (Miroslav Bulicic) is going to be brought down. This would result in new elections in Split and the city administration to result from them is going to last less than a year, because Split, just like all of Croatia, is going to have local elections in Spring of 2005.


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