Croatians vote in their first European Parliament election on April 14
Croatians were voting on April 14 2013 in the former Yugoslavian country’s first-ever elections for members of the European Parliament, ahead of Croatia’s scheduled accession to the bloc at the beginning of July.
Croatia will elect 12 MEPs, who will serve until May 2014, when all EU countries are to hold scheduled elections for a new European Parliament. When Croatia’s 2014 European parliamentary elections are held, it will be to choose 11 MEPs, as the number of the country’s seats is reduced by one in terms of adjustments envisaged in the Lisbon Treaty.
About 3.7 million Croatians are eligible to vote. Forty political parties with more than 300 candidates are standing, although the election is being held on the basis of individual candidacies rather than party lists.
Turnout might be low as the country struggles with recession, the BBC said. Croatia’s economy has been mostly in recession since 2009, unemployment has been rising and two ratings agencies have downgraded the country’s debt to “junk” status.
This could mean that voters might choose to send a signal of protest to social democrat prime minister Zoran Milanovic’s government. Opinion polls have indicated that the social democrats will get about half the seats while the other half are seen as likely to go to the conservative HDZ party and the Labour Party.
Croatia is the second country from the former Yugoslavia to join the EU, after Slovenia in 2004. Croatia applied for EU membership in 2003 and negotiations ended in 2011.
(British Square, Zagreb: Photo: Vlado Sestan/sxc.hu)