The time, of which Croatia led by Dr. Franjo Tudjman in 1990 actively dreamed about at the 30th May inauguration of the Croatian Parliament, has finally arrived!
Citizens of Croatia who are registered on the Electoral Roll (Popis birača) will have an historic opportunity to choose 12 candidates as representatives of the Republic of Croatia in the EU Parliament. Regardless of the varying opinions amongst Croats as to whether entering into EU membership is a good or a bad direction for Croatia, the reality is that Croatia will be a member state of the EU as of 1st July 2013. Hence, this is the time to accept this reality and act positively toward it by becoming active either through candidacy or through registering on the Electoral Roll and voting.
While the EU Parliament elections are to be held in Croatia on Sunday 14th April, they will be held on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th April in the diaspora; in the Croatian diplomatic-consular missions and outlets across the globe. And while it will undoubtedly be difficult for many prospective voters to travel to the polling booths, which can be quite a distance away from where an individual lives, it is hoped that many will make the effort, turn-up and vote.
So, what does one need to do to register for voting at these elections?
• If you are a citizen of the Republic of Croatia living abroad and you have a registered address of domicile (prebivalište) in Croatia you must fill in and send THIS FORM to your nearest Croatian Embassy or Consulate by email, fax or post BY 3rd of April 2013;
• If you are a citizen of the Republic of Croatia living abroad and you do NOT have a registered address of domicile (prebivalište) in Croatia you must fill in and send THIS FORM to your nearest Croatian Embassy or Consulate by email, fax or post BY 3rd of April 2013.
Similar Forms are valid for voters living in Croatia and the “nadležno tijelo” (authorized or competent body) which needs to be filled in on the Form of the request for enrollment in the Electoral Roll is your nearest Croatian Embassy or Consulate if you live abroad. If you live in Croatia and you do not know where to take/send your enrollment (it’s usually the local Council) a good place to ask is the Ministry of Administration or search its website.
Elections shall be conducted at polling stations in the Republic of Croatia and in the seats of diplomatic missions and consulates of the Republic of Croatia.
Voters with registered domicile in the Republic of Croatia shall vote at polling stations in the territory of the Republic of Croatia determined according to their registered domicile.
Voters of other European Union member states shall vote at polling stations in the territory of the Republic of Croatia determined according to the location of their registered domicile or temporary residence.
Voters who have registered domicile in the Republic of Croatia but who are in service in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia on the election date, voters who are serving in peace missions of the United Nations on the election date, voters who, as crew members on maritime and riverine vessels sailing under the Croatian flag outside of its borders and incarcerated voters shall vote at special polling stations designated in compliance with the provisions of this Act.
Voters who have registered domicile in the Republic of Croatia and who are outside of the borders of the Republic of Croatia shall vote in the seats of diplomatic missions and consulates of the Republic of Croatia with prior registration or confirmation for the purpose of voting outside of their place of domicile.
Voters who do not have registered domicile in the Republic of Croatia shall vote in the seats of diplomatic missions and consulates of the Republic of Croatia”.
The fact that there does not seem to be an option for “Postal votes” when it comes to these Croatian elections is most disappointing for those living abroad and at great distances from the diplomatic or consular missions. It almost seems a mockery of democracy when the relevant legislation about voting gives everyone the right to vote and yet does seemingly absolutely nothing in ensuring access to voting is made relatively easy for those who, without postal voting, actually cannot vote due to distance from polling booths or physical disability… Yes, it seems there is a great amount of work still outstanding in actually living the full democracy in and for Croatia.
Good luck and make your mark! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)