Sunday’s European elections in Croatia brought some unexpected results as the ruling political party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), saw worse than expected results whilst their main opposition, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) doing surprisingly well.
HDZ were predicted to win 6 of the 12 European MEP seats up for grabs in Sunday’s election but were shocked to win only 4 seats, with their rivals picking up the same number of MEPs in what proved a great night for SDP.
In the last European elections, held in 2014, HDZ won 41.4 percent of the vote but this Sunday was a different story as they had one of their worst election results in year and gained only 22.7 percent of the vote.
The four largest cities in Croatia, Zagreb, Split, Rijeka and Osijek, all turned their backs on HDZ and voted for other political options. The rural areas of the country, as well as the diaspora, are traditionally the heartland of HDZ and they continued their support with voters outside of Croatia giving HDZ 51.2 percent of their votes. However, even in the normally staunch diaspora population the support for HDZ is waning, in the last European election in 2014 the party collected an overwhelming 72.3 percent of the vote.
Clearly moved by the result the Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, stated that whilst he wasn’t happy with the result of the European elections he was satisfied that HDZ had stood alone in these elections and not part of a coalition. “We will start analysing tomorrow and see what we could have done better in the campaign,” concluded Plenkovic.
The polling stations around Croatia closed at exactly 7:00pm last night and the first “exit results” predicted HDZ winning 5 seats and SDP only 3, however as the votes were counted this predicted fell apart and according to the results published by the State Election Commission, HDZ won 4 seats, SDP 4, Croatian Sovereigns one, Misa Kolakušić's list of candidates one mandate, Živi Zid one and the Amsterdam Coalition One.