Monday, September 06, 2004

Two Parties

It is expected that Sanader's HDZ is going to get hit hard on next year's local elections. Series of unpopular moves and policy blunders has disenchanted many of its die hard supporters and motivated anti-HDZ voters.

First major electoral test of HDZ's ability to fight those trends occurred in Slavonian city of Požega (Pozega). According to first results, HDZ got clobbered, winning 29.1 % of the vote. SDP won 44.86 %, while none other party managed to push above 5 % vote limit. Thus SDP would run Požega by itself, having secured comfortable majority in City Council.

HDZ spin doctors were quick to point that HDZ actually increased its vote share compared to previous result.

On the other hand, SDP won extra seats at the expense of HSS and HNS, its former coalition partners.

Yesterday's vote was interesting because of 44,54 % turnout, which is huge for local standards. I guess that people in Požega were so infuriated with HDZ that they went to polls in droves to make a protest by tactically voting for Račan's party.

Požega is middle-sized town and, as such, place where local considerations and personalities often might play much larger role than ideologies and national issues. However, it is uncomfortable to see voters seeing SDP as the only way to punish HDZ. Croatian politics might be reduced to two-party system, and this country has deserved better than to have its version of Republicans/Democrats and Kerry vs. Bush contests.


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