Croatian election: Voters go to polls amid rising coronavirus infections.

Croatia held an election on Sunday at a time of rising coronavirus infections and a sharp economic downturn from the pandemic, with the outcome likely to lead to political negotiations to form a new government.

The ruling centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) has had a slight advantage in most opinion polls over its main rival, the Social Democrats (SDP), but neither party is seen being able to govern on its own.

“At these challenging times both for public health and the economy Croatia deserves to be led by experienced and responsible people,” Prime Minister and HDZ leader Andrej Plenkovic told supporters this week, hinting at his two top opponents’ lack of vision and experience.

They are SDP leader Davor Bernardic and popular singer Miroslav Skoro, whose nationalist and eurosceptic Domovinski Pokret (Homeland Movement) has fared third in the opinion polls with just above 10 per cent support, compared with close to 30 per cent for the two top parties.

Polling stations opened at 0500 GMT and will close at 1700 GMT when the exit polls will be released. The first preliminary official results are expected around two hours later.

“My choice is Skoro as I believe his party wants stability and to stop the young people from moving to seek jobs abroad,” said Ilija Grlic, a voter from the Zagreb area.

The new government will have an uphill task to keep a grip on the coronavirus while trying to restore the economy, expected to shrink some 10 per cent this year. Tourism revenues are forecast to slump 70 per cent.

“I think that the SDP could be a relative winner, but that the HDZ could be the one to eventually form a (coalition) cabinet,” said Kristijan, a teacher, before casting a ballot.

Some analysts believe that the two biggest parties may be forced to join forces, as the alternative of trying to form a stable government with junior partners, such as Skoro’s Homeland or the conservative Most (Bridge) party, may prove difficult.

Both Plenkovic and Bernardic have firmly rejected the idea of a “grand coalition”.

Croatia has reported a relatively small number of coronavirus infections -- 3,000 Covid-19 cases and around 100 deaths recorded so far -- but infections have accelerated in the past two weeks, with the daily number of new cases currently peaking at about 80. – Reuters

Related news

Donald Trump’s problem is that he is not authoritarian enough.

US Politics: It is the president’s lack of grip, rather than an iron fist, that has sunk his chances

Bells ring out as Hiroshima marks 75 years since atomic bomb.

Abe avoids reference to nuclear treaty during scaled-back ceremony due to coronavirus

How a ship abandoned by its owner brought deadly cargo to Beirut.

Ammonium nitrate that exploded on Tuesday arrived on the cargo ship Rhosus six years ago

1

Covid-19 may spread more easily in schools than thought, US report warns.

New details of outbreak in Georgia suggest children may play key role in community transmission

1

‘Am I going to die?’ Lebanese bride describes wedding day shattered by explosion.

Israa Seblani was posing for her wedding video when a huge blast ripped through Beirut

By continuing to browse World News (UAZMI), you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and agree to the use of cookies