Debate Over Electoral Constituency Law Divides HDZ and Opposition

After a day-long and contentious debate in Parliament, both the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) and the opposition failed to reach a consensus on the proposed electoral constituency law. The HDZ maintained that the law represented the best available option, while the opposition vehemently disagreed, claiming that no one outside the HDZ supported the law.

The changes to the law were attributed to professional services within the Ministry, led by State Secretary Mr. Rukavina, Mr. Orešković, and administrative director Ms. Markić. These individuals were noted experts within the Ministry of Justice and Administration, possessing extensive knowledge of the political system. The changes made were described as minor adjustments aimed at achieving a more balanced distribution of voters across constituencies. Minister Malenica clarified that the average constituency size now stands at approximately 364,000 voters. The surplus from the 10th constituency was redistributed to the 9th and 7th constituencies to ensure that voter numbers remained roughly equal, with deviations limited to no more than 5 percent.

Opposition representative Miletić emphasized that a high voter turnout could potentially undermine any electoral strategies employed by the HDZ to stay in power. He argued that the HDZ had created a system where the government received fewer votes than the opposition in previous elections, with a significant portion of eligible citizens abstaining from voting. Miletić also stated that the proposed law had faced criticism not only from constitutional law experts but also from individuals associated with the HDZ. He called for the urgent creation of a voter register to prevent the mishandling of over 500,000 ballots.

In response, Minister Malenica countered Miletić’s claims by stating that the number of ballots in question was not as substantial as suggested and that the electoral process remained transparent, with citizens exercising their voting rights based on the voter register. Some analyses indicated that the introduced model favored the SDP (Social Democratic Party), as pointed out by Malenica. He also noted that they had fulfilled all the requirements set forth by the Constitutional Court.

The conversation then shifted to the timing of the elections, with Hrebak suggesting that spring would be the most suitable period, accommodating the preferences of all parties. He recalled past criticisms regarding elections being held during the summer season, suggesting that early spring would avoid disrupting citizens’ summer plans. Hrebak also highlighted the potential introduction of electronic voting in Croatia, emphasizing its fairness and adaptability, particularly in the digital age accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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