The senior ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and its coalition partners managed to win the most votes in 14 counties in Sunday’s (May 17th) local elections. Preliminary results from the State Electoral Commission suggest the leading opposition party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), claimed victory in five counties, while a regional party, the Istrian Democratic Assembly, won county council elections in Istria. Voters were choosing officials in 22 counties.
As expected, the SDP outperformed its main opponent in most of the major cities, yet by a smaller margin than expected. Rijeka remains the SDP’s stronghold. It also retained a very strong presence in Zagreb, grabbing 33.34% of the votes, compared to 18.43% for the HDZ-led coalition. The main disappointment was in Split, where the SDP must compete in a mayoral runoff on May 31st.
Results in Osijek confirmed the dominance of the regional Croatian Democratic Parliament of Slavonia and Baranja (HDSSB), which secured nearly one third of the votes for the city council.