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.
- 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.