Christmas in Croatia will have a political twist this year as the government has decided to hold the elections for President of the Republic of Croatia will be held on Sunday the 22nd of December, just three days before Christmas. It what would normally be an extremely busy weekend of last minute shopping, the last weekend before Christmas, citizens will now be asked to spare some of their valuable free time to vote.
And the run up to Christmas will be a cocktail of adverts for Christmas presents and political messages as the election campaign will run up to the 21st of December. Thankfully on the Saturday and Sunday of the election any publicity from Presidential campaigners is prohibited, so at least there will be a small respite before Christmas.
Holding the vote on the eve of the biggest religious holiday in the calendar is sure to be unpopular with many citizens. And why the government has chosen this date has yet to be announced but it is sure to negatively affect the number of people at the polling stations across the country.
The front runner in the election is current President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, from the ruling HDZ party, although she is closely followed by Zoran Milanovic from SDP and the independent candidate, and singer and TV personality, Miroslav Skoro. In addition to the decision to call the presidential election, the government also made a decision on the amount of compensation for election campaign expenses, which is distributed to candidates who win more than 10 percent of the votes. For the candidate with the highest number of votes received in the first election round, this fee amounts to 1 million Kuna, but may not be paid in excess of the expenses incurred in the election campaign. 2.8 million Kuna has been earmarked in the budget for reimbursement of election campaign expenses.
If no one wins a majority or more than 50 percent of the votes cast, two weeks later, a second round of elections will be held, with the two candidates receiving the most votes in the first round. So as it seems that not one candidate will win more than 50 percent of the vote at the first time of asking there will yet another election coinciding with New Year. Meaning that between Christmas and New Year more presidential campaigning will bombard voters. It’s a political festive period for Croatia this year.