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Hope on the Balkans: Reports 1997
Presidential Election in Croatia of June 15 1997

Otvorene Oci
Croatian Branch of the Balkan Peace Team
Bascinska Cesta 51C 47000 Karlovac
Mestrovica 72A 21000 Split

Taken from: S11/June 9 - June 22 1997

Political Update

Presidential Election

The election for President of Croatia was held Sunday June 15. President Franjo Tudjman was re-elected for another 5 year term, by winning 61% of the vote. Social Democrat (SDP) candidate Zdravko Tomac received 21% and Social Liberal (HSLS) candidate Vlado Gotovac received 18%. Voter turnout in Croatia was nearly 58%. All Croats living in Bosnia-Herzegovina were allowed to vote. There is no agreement between Croatia and Bosnia allowing for this.

The OSCE election mission that was monitoring the elections called the elections "free but not fair". Of particular concern was the amount of media coverage that was devoted to President Tudjman and not the other two candidates. The Croatian television media is controlled by the ruling HDZ, and its coverage of Tudjman overshadowed that of the other candidates. Also contributing to the negative attitude of the election was the fact that both opposition candidates were victims of physical attacks during the campaign.

In the UNTAES region only a small number of Serbs voted. Many were unable to vote because their names were not on the voter lists. In one case an entire street was left off the voting lists. Others chose simply not to vote stating there wasn't a candidate that could protect their rights.

** In the Zagreb city council several days after the election, HSLS and HDZ made a co-operation agreement. Then the council which is controlled by HDZ, elected a HSLS member as deputy mayor. This alignment with HDZ has been denounced by the more liberal wing of HSLS, including Gotovac, that are opposed to close ties with HDZ. The parties ties with HDZ has been an issue of division within HSLS, and some speculate that this issue may cause the party to officially divide.

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