Zeljko Glasnovic – Dissecting Illegality of Croatian Elections 2020

General Zeljko Glasnovic

When voter popularity for a Political Party desperately seeking to keep power, such as Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ in Croatia, hits the bottom of the barrel then electoral fraud is a possibility one cannot discount nor ignore. Democracy would have us believe and trust that elections are and must be free and fair, free of fraud and corruption in particular. We have seen and see electoral fraud almost everywhere; some get away with it, some do not. Post-communist countries such as Croatia have, like other former communist countries, seen electoral fraud being suppressed even though its shocking existence, and alleged existence, has regularly upset the voters to that point where voter turnout at elections is dismal. There is a prevalent view among voters in Croatia that goes something like this: “What’s the use of voting when we know that the results will be manipulated in favour of big parties…”.

In July 2020 elections for Representatives in the Croatian Parliament barely 17% of the total electorate voted in favour of HDZ amidst a low voter turnout in general. This meant that HDZ could, just, form a minority government in coalition with other minor parties. This also meant that the war for power meant that every single parliamentary seat was of crucial importance for HDZ. And now, I turn to the 11th Electorate where three parliamentary seats in the Croatian Parliament are secured by the Constitution of the country. This is the special electorate for Croatian citizens living outside of Croatia; their voice within the Croatian Parliament. Every one of those seats was crucial for HDZ and even though, for example, retired General Zeljko Glasnovic, heading the List of Independent candidates for that electorate, some of which live abroad, received the largest number of preferential votes, he did not get in. Who got in were three candidates from the HDZ list on account of d’hondt method of vote distribution! But be that as it may, the election results announced for the 11th Electorate hit the ground with widespread allegations of electoral fraud and desperate undertakings by HDZ to ensure all three seats go to it, otherwise it could not form a government, not even a minority one! Even with Croatian Electoral Commission using d’hondt’s method to allocate seats, retired General Zeljko Glasnovic was missing 11 votes to win a seat in Croatian Parliament outright, even though he received significantly higher number of preferential votes than any of the three HDZ candidates who whittled into the Parliamentary seats for the 11th Electorate.

And so, for the first time in Croatia’s history from independence in 1991, from seceding from communist Yugoslav, we finally have in Croatia concrete measures being taken with view to inspecting the actual ballot papers from Bosnia and Herzegovina part of the 11th Electorate and ascertaining upon hard evidence whether the allegations of electoral fraud are actually substantiated. Heading this process is retired General Zeljko Glasnovic, who has been a tireless advocate for decommunization of Croatia and that includes taking positive measures in attempts to stamp out electoral fraud.

According to the Press Release (see below) issued recently on behalf of retired General Zeljko Glasnovic several irregularities that irrefutably point to electoral fraud in at least two polling stations within the 11th Electorate have been found. This fact is unacceptable and certainly points to illegalities in the July 2020 Elections in Croatia. How this will all pan out and whether the Croatian authorities will take this on board and do the right thing for democracy is yet to be seen.

Based on the above findings it seems obvious that at least in the 11th Electorate Croatian General Elections 2020 were rigged. Manipulation of ballot papers appears to have given false election results and Croatian citizens living abroad have ended up without a representative in the Croatian Parliament of their choice!

Croatian people are convinced that corruption is widespread, including electoral fraud, and they all have stories to tell, either from their own experience or heard from others, including the media. They are frustrated because so little is being done about the situation, and because they feel helpless and see themselves as being played for fools. Many cynically believe that in order to get along they have to “play the game”— that “the System” compels them to do so. Hence, I, for one, am encouraged by this investigation into the alleged electoral fraud in Croatia by retired General Zeljko Glasnovic.

Below is the Press Release mentioned above translated into English:

“7 October 2020

On behalf of retired General Zeljko Glasnovic:

Press release regarding the illegality of the elections in 11th Constituency and illegality of the Croatian Parliament

The Head of the Independent List for the 11th Constituency (Zeljko Glasnovic) informs the Croatian and world public and the institutions of the Republic of Croatia and the EU that he has obtained irrefutable evidence that the elections for the 11th Constituency in the last elections (July 2020) for the 10th Assembly of the Croatian Parliament were illegal and that new elections for the Croatian Parliament must be called urgently.

Confirmed by the published General Elections results and as it is by now well-known, Zeljko Glasnovic, who headed the Independent List for the 11th Constituency at July 2020 Parliamentary elections, ended up 11 votes short for an outright win of a mandate. 

His Independent list No.10 promptly lodged objections and the State Electoral Commission (SEC/DIP) was informed of irregularities and in particular of irregularities at polling stations 26 (Mostar) and 34 (Livno). Namely, at polling station 26, 3,423 voters allegedly voted, which means that it took 25 seconds per voter to vote, which is almost impossible. At polling station 34, according to the statements of three members of the polling station committee, Zeljko Glasnovic’s independent list was denied 11 votes.

Unfortunately, all our objections were swiftly rejected.

Pursuant to the law on the Right to Access Information, soon after the elections and the official publication of the election results, we requested access to the entire documentation including the ballot papers.

Three persons, authorised by Zeljko Glasnovic, inspected the documentation on 23-25 ​​September 2020, after which they processed the available documents.

Prior to the inspection, these three persons were received by the Vice President of the SEC/DIP, Ana Lovrin and others, and requested that an official record be kept of everything. However, such a request was denied. The inspection took place in the basement hallway. All available ballot boxes were found unsealed and opened, and ballot papers and other documentation from polling station 34 (Livno) were in piles on the table and the boxes were missing. When we asked why the boxes were opened and the documents taken out, the officials answered that they had to open them “to see what was inside”. We consider this to be illegal and took photographs of everything for the purposes of factual documentation.

During the inspection of boxes from the Mostar polling station No. 26, 5 invalid ballots were found among the valid ballots, namely ballot serial numbers: 033868, 034318, 034136, 034657 and 035184.

When inspecting the documentation with Livno polling station No. 34, the following irregularities were found:

  • box with unused leaflets serial numbers 15501 – 16000 (500 ballot papers) was found open although it should not have been opened and the said serial numbers were marked in blue and difficult to read;
  • by examining the contents of the box with unused ballot papers, it was found that among the unused ballot papers serial numbers from 15501 to 16000, 7 “inserted” ballots were found, which do not belong to that polling station or to that ballot box. Namely, numbers 089494 (found filed in place of serial number 016070), 089495 (found filed in place of serial number 016175), 089496 (slotted in where 016222 should have been), 089500 (slotted in where 016358 should have been), 089497 (slotted in where 016373 should have been), 089498 (slotted in where 016420 should have been), and 089499 (slotted in where 015011 should have been). The said ballot papers that were taken out of the unused ballot papers box and replaced by “other” ballot paper were found among the valid ballots (counted as valid by the SEC/DIP).
  • Among the valid ballots another “inserted” ballot paper from the 11th Constituency, serial number 003829 was found.
  • It was further established that 9 ballot papers of serial numbers (015001 – 016500) were missing, namely ballot papers serial numbers 015115, 015179, 015362, 015542, 015747, 015786, 015854, 015887 and 015929.
  • the determined situation in the Minutes record does not correspond to the number and the distribution of valid and invalid ballots
  • An irregularity was observed in the sequence of use of ballot papers. And so, we have serial numbers 015001 to 015094 (except serial number 015011 which was pulled out and replaced by an “insert”) that are unused, and after that sequence starting with number 015095 to 015676 were used (except for the “missing” 015115, 015179, 015362, 015542, 015747, 015786, 015854, 015887, 015929), followed again by a series of unused serial numbers 015677 to 015701, and then again a series of used from serial numbers 015702 to 016000 (except “missing” serial numbers 015747, 015786, 015854, 015887, 015929).
  • Further, we found a series of serial numbers no. 016001 to 016500 unused ballot papers (except extracted series numbers 16070, 16175, 16222, 16358 and 16373 and 16420, and replaced by the above-mentioned “inserted” ballot papers), and this series of 500 ballot papers was supposed to be in a sealed box.
  • Examination revealed an increase in the number of invalid ballots, the number of votes per list does not match the official Minutes record.

We emphasise that we asked for a few more days for further analysis of polling station 26 (Mostar), but this was not permitted.

It is important to emphasise that the ballot papers and Minutes record from polling station 34 (Livno) were found on the table in piles, not in boxes.

At the end, we asked the SEC/DIP not to destroy the election materials, but they informed us in writing that the SEC/DIP will act “in accordance with the Regulations on the protection and processing of archival and registry material created in the work performed by SEC/DIP and other bodies for elections and referendums.” Therefore, we conclude that there is a danger of the ballot papers being destroyed within 60 days from the day of the official publication of the election results.

In Zagreb on October 7, 2020.

under the authority of General Zeljko Glasnovic

Mate Knezović, Lawyer”

Ina Vukic



  1. bobomostarac says:

    Incredibly! As if we were still in Stalin’s time?

  2. Robert Weiss says:

    Voter turnout in post-communist countries has exhibited wildly fluctuating patterns against a backdrop of
    economic and political volatility. HDZ government is acting like a totalitarian regime, sowing fear for survival unless one is attached to them. An absolute shocker of example where transition into democracy is disrespected, corruption and fraud flow like water from an opened faucet. What a shame. It is so refreshing to read that someone has taken it into their hands to actually demonstrate how election fraud is done.

  3. Wilkinson says:

    Both HDZ and SDP have in past manipulated voter rolls, falsified vote counts, and spread massive amounts of propaganda — things like posters, pamphlets, and leaflets — to manipulate people’s views. Not delivered on election promises, were and are there to promote communism and defend the criminal regime that communist Yugoslavia was. Unforgivable!

    • It’s just a matter of overcoming the fear of power that was inherited from communist Yugoslavia and then we might see some significant changes in Croatia. Instead of standing up against the big Parties most young have opted leaving Croatia, looking for a better life. Perhaps a positive change will come, Wilkinson, sooner than later

  4. General Glasnovic is one of very very few politicians who has kept their word to get rid of communist mindset in Croatia. I wish him all the best in exposing this shocking fraud at last elections.

  5. During the 1990s American and other world democratic leaders and many others in the West viewed Croatia as one of important test cases for a transition to democracy. Today the consensus of many analyses in the West concludes that, if Croatia did enter a transition to democracy during the 1990’s war, that transition has not been successful especially since former communists and their descendants took over the reins. Much electoral corruption and fraud has passed under the bridge. It’s time to stop that, even trying to stop it is a huge step forward. Good luck!

    • Indeed, Zoran, all former communist countries in Europe were to lead the way in transition into democracy. While Hungary, Poland and Czech republics have made profound steps in lustration and passing many laws to ease the transition Croatia remains far behind…what a shame

  6. I pray that Liberty and Freedom breaks out throughout the entire country and all remnants of the old Communists ways be removed as far as the East is from the West from Croatia… never to return.


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