Voting in Croatia

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Since 1990, five presidential elections, eight parliamentary elections, six nationwide local elections and two elections to elect 11 members of the European Parliament have been held.

Presidential Elections

The President of Croatia is elected for a five-year term by a direct vote of all citizens in a majority system, requiring runoff elections if no candidate wins more than 50 percent of votes in the first round.

Timing: Every 5 years.

Next election: 2019.

 

Parliament Elections

Members of Parliament are elected for a four-year term, with additional members elected for the Croatian diaspora and national minorities. Out of 25 political parties which won seats in Croatian parliamentary elections held since 1990, only five have won ten seats or more in any one parliamentary election.

Timing: Every 4 years.

Next election: 2020.

 

Local Elections

The county prefects, city/town mayors and municipality presidents are elected for four-year term by a majority of votes cast within applicable local government units, with a runoff election if no candidate achieves a majority in the first round of voting.

Timing: Every 4 years.

Next election: 2021.

 

Who can be a candidate for office

Any Croatian citizen over the age of 18 may be a candidate in presidential, parliamentary or local government elections, provided that a sufficient number of endorsements by Croatian voters is obtained beforehand, either by petition or political party sponsorship.

 

How and Where to Vote in Croatia

Voting takes place in polling stations in Croatia and abroad, monitored by an electoral board and observers at each station. Voters deployed abroad in the armed forces, voters on Croatian-flagged ships and imprisoned voters are allowed to vote elsewhere. Voters residing in Croatia but traveling abroad on election day may vote at Croatian diplomatic missions. Voters who expect to travel in Croatia or abroad on election day may require inclusion in a provisional list which allows them to vote at a polling station other than that assigned to them by residence.

All votes are counted by hand. The State Electoral Commission publishes official results and handles complaints, supported by county, city and town electoral commissions during local elections.

Polling stations are set up in public buildings throughout the country and voters can only vote at their assigned polling station (according to their permanent residence). You can find your polling station by visiting the voting register website and filling in your OIB. All voters are automatically placed on voting lists. All you have to do is bring your ID card to prove your identity.

The register of voters in Croatia is defined by law. The register lists all citizens of Croatia aged 18 and over, except those who have been stripped of their voting rights by a court decision. If the court determines you do not have the mental competency to vote, the court can strip your voting rights and assign a caregiver that can vote on your behalf.

Voting in Croatia as a Foreigner

If you're a EU national with permanent residence in Croatia, you'll have to request to be added to the voting register at the police station. You'll need to bring a copy of your EU ID card, notarized statement stating nationality, proof of residence in Croatia and a statement that says you have right to vote in your native country. You have to submit your request at least 30 days before elections and if you're accepted to the register, you'll stay there until you request to be taken off or until your residency expires.

Elections are governed by the State Electoral Commission and electoral boards. Members of those bodies are required to have a university degree in law, and they may not be members of any political party. The State Electoral Commission prepares and manages elections in accordance with legislation, appoints lower-ranking election-commission and board members, issues directives to such bodies and supervises their work.

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Expat in Croatia

Sara is an American expat based in Split. After globetrotting between New York, Amsterdam and California, she moved to Croatia in 2012. Sara's blog Expat in Croatia is a guide for foreigners living and traveling in Croatia.