The government presented changes to the law on electoral units. It is a simple law containing 17 articles. The government proposed it after considering the decision by the Constitutional Court from February. The changes are primarily conditioned by the demographic situation of individual Croatian regions.
“Within the decision by the Constitutional Court from February this year,” noted Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, “the Government read four messages saying that equal weight of each vote should be ensured.”
“This means that for example, the current situation, where due to demographic trends, the number of representatives in one electoral unit is lower than the number of representatives in another electoral unit. The biggest discrepancies under the current system are in the fourth electoral unit that has the lowest number of voters, while the biggest number of voters is in the ninth electoral unit,” said the Prime Minister.
Electoral units should follow administrative boundaries as much as possible, and according to the law, deviation should not exceed plus or minus five percent. Only 22 percent of voters will change their current electoral unit.
“The most important change is in the City of Zagreb, which will consist of three electoral units instead of four,” explained Plenković. He added that it was only a minor modification.
“We wanted to achieve maintenance of the existing model of ten electoral units, in which, in Croatia 14 representatives are elected. The constitutional court gave us the possibility, based on what they said, to practically modify the existing system and achieve equality, equal treatment of voters and representatives who are elected for Croatian parliament,” said Plenković.
Minister of Justice Ivan Malenica commented on whether or not the voter registry is credible, considering the fact that there are significant discrepancies between the voter list and the last population census.
“The voter’s registry is mostly formed on the basis of evidence on residence which the Interior Ministry has and on the basis of centers that are located in the Ministry of Justice and Administration. All other data and registries, including the population census, can be orienteering in nature, but the only relevant one is the voter’s registry, which as such was the basis for creating this proposal and these new electoral units,” said Malenica.
According to the decision of the Constitutional Court, the new law should be passed by October 1 of this year. It will be in the first parliamentary reading until the summer break, and in the second at the beginning of September. The public hearing will begin today or tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the opposition has complained that electoral units are being determined on the basis of an exaggerated number of voters, not the number of inhabitants. They also emphasize the fact that the drafting of the proposal was non-transparent, that is, only the Croatian Democratic Union participated in it.
After the president of the Constitutional Court explained that that court can only evaluate accordance with the constitution for a law that is in force at the time of the decision, that is, it will not intervene in the process of adopting the law on electoral units - Social Democratic Party leader, Peđa Grbin, reacted.
“Even though the constitutional law on the constitutional court gives you the tools to do something, in advance, before you saw the concrete proposal, you say I won't do that. All of this to me seems as though Šeparović allowed such a decision to be adopted so it looks like he's doing something, while in the end planning to do nothing. But that doesn't mean that we won't turn to him when this comes out, if for no other reason, to see what kind of verbal neck breaking he will come up with this time, to get out of what he should do and what is his job,” said Grbin.