- Title: Croatian political leaders vote in post-lockdown election
- Date: 5th July 2020
- Summary: ZAGREB, CROATIA (JULY 5, 2020) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** CROATIAN PRIME MINISTER ANDREJ PLENKOVIC ENTERING POLLING STATION / PLENKOVIC APPROACHING POLLING STATION CLERKS POLLING CLERKS CHECKING PLENKOVIC'S ID PLENKOVIC WAITING TO TAKE BALLOT POLLING CLARKS WAITING FOR PLENKOVIC PLENKOVIC CASTING HIS BALLOTS / POSING FOR MEDIA PLENKOVIC LEAVING POLLING STATION (SOUNDBITE) (Croatian) PRIME MINISTER OF CROATIA AND LEADER OF HDZ, ANDREJ PLENKOVIC, SAYING: "Democracy implies that citizens have their say and today is that day when we (will) face the will of the people. I am looking forward to the choice of our fellow citizens and the continuation of work for the well-being of Croatia." LEADER OF THE RESTART COALITION AND SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC PARTY DAVOR BERNARDIC SANITISING HIS HANDS AND HANDING HIS ID TO POLLING CLERK BERNARDIC CASTING HIS BALLOTS / BERNADIC POSING FOR MEDIA WITH BALLOT PAPER IN HAND MEDIA TAKING PICTURES BERNADIC DROPPING HIS BALLOT PAPERS INTO BOX AND LEAVING POLLING STATION (SOUNDBITE) (Croatian) LEADER OF THE RESTART COALITION AND SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC PARTY DAVOR BERNADIC, SAYING: "I encourage all the citizens of our country to come to polling stations today. It is of utmost importance to have the highest turnout possible as today your destiny is decided, the destiny of your families, of our country and each vote matters. Do not throw away your vote and do not let anyone else decide for you." LEADER OF THE HOMELAND MOVEMENT, MIROSLAV SKORO, ARRIVING AT POLLING STATION VARIOUS OF SKORO AT POLLING STATION POLLING CLERKS CHECKING HIS ID SKORO VOTING IN BALLOT BOOTH VARIOUS OF SKORO CASTING HIS VOTE / SKORO POSING FOR MEDIA WITH BALLOT IN HAND SKORO WALKING OFF (SOUNDBITE) (Croatian) LEADER OF THE HOMELAND MOVEMENT, MIROSLAV SKORO, SAYING: "Dear voters, I encourage you to come to the polling stations massively as you can make a change. I believe in that (change) and I wouldn't be here today if I didn't." SKORO WALKING OFF
- Embargoed: 19th July 2020 13:11
- Keywords: Andrej Plenkovic Croatia Domovinski Pokret HDZ SDP candidates elections leaders voting
- Location: ZAGREB, CROATIA
- City: ZAGREB, CROATIA
- Country: Croatia
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA001CLJ73GN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The leaders of Croatia's political parties cast their votes in an election on Sunday (July 5) held at a time of rising coronavirus infections and a sharp economic downturn from the pandemic, with the outcome likely to lead to political negotiations to form a new government.
The ruling centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) has had a slight advantage in most opinion polls over its main rival, the Social Democrats (SDP), but neither party is seen being able to govern on its own.
Prime Minister and HDZ leader Andrej Plenkovic said he looked forward to working with others fter the election.
His two top opponents are SDP leader Davor Bernardic and popular singer Miroslav Skoro, whose nationalist and eurosceptic Domovinski Pokret (Homeland Movement) has fared third in the opinion polls with just above 10% support, compared with close to 30% for the two top parties.
Polling stations will close at 1700 GMT when the exit polls will be released. The first preliminary official results are expected around two hours later.
By 0930GMT the turnout was 18.09%, around one percentage point below that four years ago. The highest number of voters, many of them wearing masks, has been reported in the Zagreb area, while some eastern parts of the country, with recent clusters of COVID-19 cases, lag behind other areas of Croatia.
The new government will have an uphill task to keep a grip on the coronavirus while trying to restore the economy, expected to shrink some 10% this year. Tourism revenues are forecast to slump 70%.
Some analysts believe that the two biggest parties may be forced to join forces, as the alternative of trying to form a stable government with junior partners, such as Skoro's Homeland or the conservative Most (Bridge) party, may prove difficult.
Both Plenkovic and Bernardic have firmly rejected the idea of a "grand coalition".
(Production: Fedja Grulovic, Branko Filipovic and Helena Williams)
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