17/12/2019 - Analysis - 1st round
On 22nd December and 5th January, the Croats will be asked to appoint their President of the Republic. The outgoing Head of State Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who has been in office since the elections of 28th December 2014 and 11th January 2015, announced on 2nd October that she was standing again. If none of the eleven candidates receives more than 50% of the votes cast, a second round of voting will take place on 5 January 2020.
According to the latest opinion poll conducted by the 2*1Komunikacije Institute, former Prime Minister (2011-2016) Zoran Milanovic (Social Democratic Party, SDP) is expected to lead the first round with 25.2% of the vote, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic with 24.1%, singer Miroslav Skoro (independent) with 22.5%. MEP Mislav Kolakusic (independent) would get 10.6% and Ivan Pernar (Ivan Pernar's Party) 2.5%. In the second round, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic would win ahead of Zoran Milanovic and Miroslav Skoro.
Croats living abroad will be able to fulfil their civic duty in 47 countries. The election campaign began on 5th December and will end on 20th December.
11 people, compared to 4 five years ago, are officially candidates:
- Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (independent), chair of the outgoing Republic supported by the Democratic Union (HDZ);
- Zoran Milanovic (Social Democratic Party, SDP), former Prime Minister (2011-2016), supported by the Labour Party, the Democratic Party of Istria (IDS) and the Liberal Civil Alliance GLAS;
- Miroslav Skoro (independent), a singer supported by populist right-wing parties;
- Mislav Kolakusic (independent), former judge and MEP (non-attached);
- Dejan Kovac (Social Liberal Party, HSLS), economist;
- Anto Djapic, leader of the Democratic Alliance for National Renewal (Desno);
- Milan Bandic (Bandic Milan 365-Party of Labour and Solidarity), unfortunate candidate in the 2009 presidential election (14.83% of the votes in the first round and 39.74% in the second), mayor of Zagreb from 2000 to 2002 and since May 2005;
- Ivan Pernar (Ivan Pernar's Party), MP;
- Nedjeljko Babic, leader of the party of the Chakavian, Kajkavian and Shtokavian speakers' dialects;
- Katarina Peovic, candidate for the Workers' Front;
- Dalija Oreskovic (independent).
The unknown Miroslav Skoro
Miroslav Skoro is campaigning under the banner of "Now or Never". He says he wants to "eradicate fear" and "return the State to the people". He said he wants to unite all Croats, especially those who have suffered over the past twenty years. He wants to increase the powers of the head of State and hopes, if he wins, that the government will resign, the parliament will dissolve and call for new parliamentary elections. He maintains that a vote in favour of the outgoing President of the Republic is a vote for Zoran Milanovic.
The Presidency of the Republic in Croatia
The President of the Republic of Croatia is elected for five years by a direct universal majority vote. He/she may be re-elected only once.
The constitutional reform of 28th February 2001, which strengthened the powers of the Sabor (Parliament) by abolishing the former Upper House (the Chamber of Comitats), considerably reduced the powers of the Head of State. He appoints the Prime Minister and members of the government, represents Croatia abroad and accredits ambassadors. He/she has a right of scrutiny over diplomatic issues and is associated with the government in the development and conduct of the country's foreign policy. Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, he/she has exceptional powers in times of war. Finally, the Head of State may dissolve Parliament, submit a bill or constitutional reform to referendum - with the agreement of the government - or request that an exceptional Council of Ministers be held on certain subjects, but may not oppose laws passed by deputies.
Any candidate for the presidential office must have at least 10,000 signatures of voters on his or her name in order to be eligible to vote.
Reminder of the presidential election results of 28th December 2014 and 11th January 2015 in Croatia
Turnout: 47.12% (1st round) and 59.06% (2nd round)
Source : https://www.izbori.hr/arhiva-izbora/index.html#/app/predsjednik-2014
The Croatian presidential election will be particularly monitored in the run-up to the next legislative elections in Croatia in autumn 2020. We should remember that Zagreb will hold the six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time in its history from 1 January 2020.
The term of office of the outgoing President of the Republic Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic expires on 19th February 2020.