Croatia 2024 General Election: What to Know

  • Why does this election matter?

  • Who are the candidates?

  • Who is expected to win?

  • When will we learn the result?

Why does this election matter?

Politics in Croatia have been dominated for more than 30 years by the party that led the armed struggle for a separate state from a disintegrating Yugoslavia. But a snap general election scheduled for April 17 has left the Balkan nation’sgoverning party exposed to an unexpectedly strong challenge from populist forces.

The Croatian Democratic Union, known as HDZ, first emerged in 1989 as an ethnonationalist champion of Croat primacy, but later evolved into a more conventional, pro-European, right-wing party. It has governed the Balkan country, either on its own or with coalition partners, for 26 of the 32 years since it broke away from Yugoslavia in 1991.

Opinion polls put HDZ ahead of its main rival, the Social Democratic Party, and a plethora of smaller groups. But swamped by corruption scandals, disquiet over the rising cost of living and anger over its aloof (critics say authoritarian) ways, HDZ has faced mounting pressure from both the left and right.

The far-right Homeland Movement could end up being a kingmaker if, as is highly likely, neither of the two biggest parties win a majority in Croatia’s Parliament.

Who are the candidates?

Croatia will vote to fill Parliament’s 151 seats and the party with a majority, either alone or in a coalition with other parties, will name the next prime minister, the country’s most powerful post.

The current prime minister is Andrej Plenkovic, the leader of HDZ and a bitter rival of Croatia’s president, Zoran Milanovic.

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