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Croatian parliamentary election, 2000

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3 January 2000  2003 →
24 seats (SDP, HSLS, PGS, SBHS)  75 seats
47  29
Turnout  70.5%
71 / 151  46 / 151
1,138,318  790,728
Croatian parliamentary election, 2000

Parliamentary elections for the Chamber of Representatives of the Croatian Parliament were held on 3 January 2000. These were the first elections to be held after the expiration of a full 4-year term of the previous Chamber of Representatives.

The ruling Croatian Democratic Union entered the elections weakened by the Zagreb Crisis, street protests and the series of corruption scandals that came to light in the previous parliamentary term. However, the most important factor was the deteriorating health of the party leader and Croatian president Franjo Tuđman, which sparked a succession struggle between various factions within the party.

On the other side, two major Croatian opposition parties - the Social Democratic Party of Croatia and Croatian Social Liberal Party - had their coalition formally agreed in 1998 and spent more than a year preparing for the elections. At first, they were to run together with the Croatian Peasant Party, Croatian People's Party, Istrian Democratic Assembly and Liberal Party, but as Tuđman's condition worsened leaders of the SDP and HSLS concluded that they could win elections even without those four other parties which later formed a separate bloc.

Like before all previous elections since the breakup of Yugoslavia, the electoral laws were altered in an attempt to improve the chances for the ruling party; this included a new voting system and redistricting. The First Past the Post constituencies introduced in the previous election were completely abandoned and Proportional Representation was implemented (with the exception of single representative ethnic minority seats). Croatia was divided into ten electoral districts, all drawn in order to maximise the support for HDZ. Each district had to elect 14 members, with candidates' lists having to win more than 5% of the votes in order to be represented in the Sabor.

Due to Tuđman's illness and death, the actual date of elections had been repeatedly postponed for constitutional reasons. There were speculations about elections being held during the Christmas holidays in order to have as many Croatian expatriates (traditional HDZ supporters) in the country, but the date of 3 January was chosen as the most suitable. As the day of the elections approached, its outcome became more certain. The campaign was brief and relatively uneventful with the HDZ being visibly weakened and demoralised by the death of its long-term leader. On the actual day of elections the turnout - the biggest since 1990 - indicated the Croatian people's desire to have their government changed.

Račan was appointed Prime Minister on 27 January 2000, by a decree of the Acting President of Croatia and Speaker of the outgoing assembly of Parliament, Vlatko Pavletić, and this decision was later confirmed by a parliamentary vote on 2 February 2000 in which 122 of 151 MPs voted in favor and 1 against the cabinet, while 1 MP abstained. Račan led a coalition of SDP-HSLS, which together with a bloc of four other parties, won a two-thirds majority allowing them to amend the Constitution and turn the Republic from a semi-presidential system to an incomplete parliamentary system in November of 2000 and abolish the upper chamber of Parliament, the Chamber of Counties, in March of 2001. The constitutional changes of 2000 greatly limited the power of the President, but retained the direct election of that office.

Summary of votes and seats

National minorities elected 5 representatives through a separate election system: Milan Đukić (47,7% of votes) for the Serb national minority, Tibor Santo (42,8%) for the Hungarian minority, Furio Radin (78,9%) for the Italian minority, Zdenka Čuhnil (40,6%) for the Czech and Slovak minorities and Borislav Graljuk (34,1%) for the Austrian, German, Jewish, Rusyn and Ukrainian minorities.

References

Croatian parliamentary election, 2000 Wikipedia


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