Calls to annul the Croatian EU accession referendum question its legitimacy

Vladimir Seks

An enormous legal storm seems to be brewing in Croatia.

Almost the minute the referendum results were announced (late in the night of  22 January) in favour of EU accession the former deputy parliamentary speaker of Croatia, Vladimir Seks (HDZ), boasted: “…without the changes in the Constitution, agreed to between HDZ and SDP, the referendum would not have passed.”

It is thus official: the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), in power to December 2011, and Social Democratic Party (SDP), in power since December 2011 had agreed to adjust the Referendum law in 2010 to secure a future “sure win” for the case of European Union accession referendum.

The last couple of days saw some interesting but disturbing developments in Croatia regarding the EU referendum.

The pro-EU camp is attempting to argue the reduction of the actual number of registered voters in order to bump up the overall turnout numbers above 50%. (The turnout vis-a-vis total number of registered voters was a poor 44% according to Croatian Electoral Office).

Certainly, the idea that the Croatian electoral roll is in shambles is by no means new. In the aftermath of the past couple of general elections there’d been protests that there seemed to be more registered voters on the roll than citizens eligible to vote. Estimates of up to half million of “suspect” registered voters had been bandied around. But, no one it seems did anything about it.

Serious commotion regarding the electoral roll commenced when, on 25th January, the  Dubrovnik online portal published an article claiming that the referendum was neither constitutional nor legal. This claim was backed by legal assessment of the laws governing referendums. I.e. it claims that while decisions are made on basis of majority votes among the votes actually cast, this must be under the condition that the majority of registered voters actually cast their votes.

It is claimed that the Parliament had omitted to adjust the new 2010 Referendum Act and, hence, the pre-existing condition of majority of registered voters to cast votes remains.

The problem seems to be that in accordance with Constitutional law for the enforcement of the Croatian constitution, articles of the changed Referendum constitution cannot be applied prior to their enactment that is, prior to the adjustment of the referendum law.

Media reports lead us to believe that an application to the Croatian Constitutional court for assessment of the validity of the referendum results is already on its way.

If such sloppy work in processing new laws by the Croatian parliament is proven by the Constitutional court it’s high time to bring in a new, mighty broom and sweep the “old geezers”, the stale political elite, out. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb), B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. Michael silovic says:

    We all know that there has always been a problem with the voting issues. More so I already knew that here was going to be manipulation of the votes regarding the EU. The problem now is that we are in the EU and nothing we say or do will change that.Many powerful forces outside of Croatia are in control and we are not more then mere puppets.We must focus on changing the constitution to Croatia First Policy as quick as possible before we lose all control of our country’s assets.One of the priorities is to get Croats back to Croatia as quickly as possible.Lower the tax burden on Croatian senior citizens and lower the VAT tax. All of this can happen if we put Croats back to work in any investments made in Croatia by using a Croatian First policy. With out this policy we will struggle for many years to see any benefit to our people.

    • So much truth in this but, unfortunately, as far as the VAT tax equivalent is concerned I believe Croatian new government has increased it to 25% a couple of days ago and proposal passed in parliament. This I think makes it the second highest in Europe

  2. Michael Silovic says:

    I seen that they did do that and it was another mistake. VAT taxes have an impact on tourism and those who make money in the tourism season. When taxes are low it allows people to spend more money which allows all business owners to make more more and more money creates jobs. being the 2nd highest is not the best idea.

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