Croatians to elect mayors in a tense political climate

Photo: EPA Supporters of the Croatian Democratic Union celebrate victory in the parliamentary elections, July 2020.

Croatia will hold local elections on Sunday in a tense political climate comparable to a general election campaign, ANSA reported. Political forces will struggle to conquer the four major cities: Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, and Osijek, where the outgoing mayors will end their mandate after many years.

The elections of 555 mayors and municipal councils and the 21 counties, in which 3.7 m citizens are going to vote, are a crucial test of popularity for both conservative PM Andrej Plenkovic and the opposition.

According to polls, a new coalition between the Greens and the radical left that has been on the rise for a year is the third biggest political force.

The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ, center-right) of the premier hopes to reconfirm itself as the ruling party, which has been in power at the national level for six years. Instead, the Social Democrats (SDP) are struggling to remain in power in Rijeka, a city they have been ruling for more than thirty years. The crucial battle will take place in Zagreb, ruled for two decades by the late mayor Milan Bandic, who died in February of a heart attack. A new political season seems to open up, as the coalition between the Greens and the radical left, called Mozemo ('We can,' inspired in part by the Spanish Podemos) of the young environmental activist Tomislav Tomasevic is favored in polls. According to all the polls, he could be the winner, defeating all possible rivals in the capital Zagreb.

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