Croatia goes to the polls tomorrow, but the 400 000 croats in the diaspora are voting today. Polling stations in Germany, the second largest foreign Croat community at just over 38 000, are open, and in 52 other countries worldwide. “I’m from Dubrava in Zagreb, and I’ve lived in Stuttgart for 41 years”, said one elderly voter.
The sixth Croatian parliament is elected by nearly four and half million voters, with nearly 300 000 resident in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Half of the 265 overseas polling stations are here. “ I have the right to vote here, it was given to us by the Croatian state”, insisted one man.
The elections are at a key time as the country’s future leader is likely to lead it into European Union membership, as it is the most advanced of the Balkan candidate countries.
Ivo Sanader, the current prime minister, believes he will hold off the challenge of the SDP opposition led by Zoran Milanovic, which has put up Lyubo Jurcic as a prime ministerial candidate, even if Milanovic moves the masses on the campaign trail, where Jurcic has a low profile.
Croatia also hopes for NATO membership early next year, although electors appear more concerned about jobs, and a crackdown on corruption that continues to put a brake on development.