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Croatia’s progressives could make gains in big cities

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Significance

In the first round of mayoral, municipal and regional elections on May 16, voters in Croatia’s larger cities and urban centres tilted towards challengers. This year’s local polls present a much better chance of political renewal than several recent national votes. Zagreb, Split, Rijeka and Osijek are electing new mayors, as incumbents are not standing for re-election.

Impacts

  • Mozemo!’s programme for Zagreb will focus attention on green energy, digital economy, health, culture and post-earthquake reconstruction.
  • Challenger candidates would cut public-sector jobs to reduce city budgets, but it is unclear whether this will be followed through.
  • A victory for Ivica Puljak in Split could boost centrist politics at national level and start dismantling HDZ dominance in Dalmatia.
  • The election of an independent mayor in Vodnjan backed by local IT giant Infobip is a warning for the Istrian Democratic Assembly party.

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