Croatia holds first European Parliament elections

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-4-15 9:20:58

Croatia held the first elections for its 12 Members of the European Parliament (EP) on Sunday on the eve of the country's accession to the European Union (EU) on July 1.

Following casting his ballot at No. 34 polling station in Zagreb, Croatian President Ivo Josipovic said he expected citizens would elect the best and once elected Croatian deputies in the EP would act honorably and responsibly.

A statistics from the State Election Commission (DIP) showed only 5.98 percent of voters had voted by 11:00 a.m. local time (0900 GMT). The polling started from 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) till 7 p.m. (1700 GMT).

DIP said that voting is proceeding peacefully and without major problems.

According to DIP a total of 3,740,951 citizens are eligible to vote at 6,614 polling stations in Croatia and 82 polling stations abroad. Because of the time difference voting abroad began on Saturday and the last polling station will be closed on Monday afternoon.

All of Croatia is one constituency and voters can choose among 12 candidates from 28 lists of candidates -- 27 party lists and one group of independent candidates. Independent of party lists is 19, and eight coalition, according to DIP.

Croatian parliament decided in February to introduces open slates for the first time in the country's election practice, which means that apart from voting for the slate of party, voters can also choose individual candidates.

Earlier observers here predicted the turnout could be lower than the referendum on EU entry in January last year, when 43 percent voters cast their ballots.

The 12 elected members of EU parliament will only have a one-year mandate as regular European elections will be held in 2014. After next year's elections, the number of MEPs from Croatia will be cut to 11, as part of the deal to meet a 751-seat limit set by the Lisbon treaty. Currently Croatia has 12 observers in the EP.

Croatia, which concluded its EU accession talks in 2011, is due to join officially the European bloc on July 1, 2013.

Posted in: Europe

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