Croatian MPs voted on May 18 to dissolve Parliament to make way for a general election to take place in June or July.
It was previously unclear whether Croatia would be able to hold a general election, given the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but the strict lockdown has successfully contained the spread of the virus, and restrictions are now being eased.
This makes it possible for the vote to go ahead in the next few months. Likely election dates are June 21 or 28, or July 5 or 12, to be decided by President Zoran Milanovic.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic’s government has benefitted from its solid handling of the pandemic, gaining a narrow poll lead over the rival Social Democratic Party (SDP).
The latest poll carried out by the Promocja Plus agency for broadcaster RTL, and published on May 11, puts Plenkovic’s Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) slightly ahead of the opposition SDP.
If the parliamentary elections had been held last week, the HDZ would have been the winner with 30.2% of the vote (compared with 28.4% in April), and the SDP in second place with 27.8% (27% in April).
“Two months of the corona crisis brought the HDZ back to the top of the party rankings, with a slight increase in its advantage over the SDP. However, this advantage is still at the level of statistical error,” Promocija Plus wrote.
Plenkovic said on May 18 that he hoped to increase the HDZ’s majority in Parliament.
"We have made huge achievements for the Croatian economy. That is why we have had healthy growth, never less unemployment and never more employment. In the circumstances after the corona crisis, we want a new trust on which to consolidate political stability and a new parliamentary majority. to be bigger, to go strongly further, with the new, firm, democratic legitimacy of our fellow citizens,” he said, according to a government statement.
However, some Zagreb residents are unhappy that Parliament was dissolved before a law on reconstruction of the capital, where extensive damage was caused by an earthquake in March, could be passed.
A small crowd of around 20 protesters gathered outside the parliament and booed Plenkovic as he exited the building after the vote, state news agency Hina reported. The protesters had spent the night outside the parliament.
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