Croatia elections generally in line with international standards
The 23 November elections to the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia were conducted generally in line with OSCE commitments and international standards for democratic elections. However, some issues remain to be addressed, concluded the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Election Observation Mission (EOM).
Wednesday, 30 December 2009, by OSCE
"The confidence displayed by political parties, non-governmental organizations and State authorities, reflects continued progress in the election process," said Ian Mitchell, Head of the Election Observation Mission.
"To ensure that this progress is sustained, there must be a concerted effort to further improve election legislation and access to voting for refugees."
The issues outstanding are in regard to improving the legislative framework for elections, addressing the short time frame available for election administration, increasing the accessibility for out-of-country voting (especially for refugees in Serbia and Montenegro and in Bosnia and Herzegovina) and increasing transparency of campaign spending.
The Law on the Election of Representatives to the Croatian Parliament provided an adequate basis for the conduct of the elections but, as in previous elections, had to be supplemented by key instructions and other detailed directives by the State Election Commission. The short electoral period and absence of permanent election administration contributed to late promulgation of polling procedures, which created significant challenges in communicating them effectively to election participants.
Election procedures expanded eligibility to vote beyond the statutory requirements for Croatian citizens living abroad. Nevertheless, such voters might be unable to provide the requisite proof of citizenship. It should be noted that the number and distribution of polling stations available in neighboring countries was disproportionate to the number, circumstances and status (as refugees) of many of these voters.
The State Election Commission took a positive step by demonstrating an appropriate regard for the interest of national minority voters by providing precise information on their ability to choose either a constituency or national minority ballot.
The electronic and print media, as a whole, provided voters with a variety of political views and candidates were able to present their platforms and convey their message freely. The public HRT television and radio channels fulfilled their legal obligations to provide free airtime for presentations of the contestants, and maintained sufficient campaign coverage without bias.
Published by HRH Sarajevo