Elections in Croatia – Results of the first round. Local elections in progress. Voter turnout higher than four years ago
The first round of the local elections in Croatia took place on Sunday 21 May. Around 3.7 million voters were called upon to choose zupas (provincial governors), mayors, local and regional representatives. The local elections have not brought any final results in several major cities, including the capital Zagreb: In four cities (Zagreb, Split, Rijeka and Osijek), where the candidates did not reach an absolute majority in the first round, ballots will be held on 4th June.
In Zagreb, mayor Milan Bandic (BM 365), who has won 30.87 percent of the votes, will be challenged in the ballot in June by Anka Mrak-Taritas (HNS-LD), who won 24.48 percent of the votes. The election in Zagreb brought a defeat for the rightwing conservative HDZ, which could lead to discussions within the HDZ. On the other hand, the HDZ has performed well at the regional level. In the choice of the zupas, the party leads in 13 out of 20 counties.
The reigning Social Democrat Vojko Obersnel (SDP), who has been running Rijeka since 2000, leads the first round with 40 percent ahead of the challenger, the independent Hrvoje Buric (17.5 percent). In Osijek, the reigning independent mayor Ivica Vrkic, has a decisive head start in the ballot: He achieved 37 percent of the votes and was ahead of his challenger Ivana Sojat (HDZ), who only reached 17 percent. In the second-largest city of Croatia, Split, former mayor Zeljko Kerum, who was deputy four years ago, received 30.4 percent of the votes. His challenger in the ballot, HDZ candidate Andro Opara, however, only gained 26.2 percent.
The election campaign was overshadowed by the disintegration of the government coalition of the right-wing conservative HDZ and the liberal-conservative Party of Most. To this extent, these elections are regarded as an important indicator for a possible early parliamentary election.
The Republic of Croatia, independent since June 1991, joined the European Union on 1st July 2013.
Election in North Rhine-Westphalia – defeat for SPD. Last important indicator before German Bundestag election in autumn
The red-green state government has been deselected in SPD’s home country. 65.2 percent of 13.1 million electors voted on 21 May 2017: In the Landtagswahl in North Rhine-Westphalia, the CDU has won considerably, as has been the case recently in Saarland and Schleswig-Holstein. The election in the most populous German federal state was, as every country’s election in Germany before, an important result for the German Bundestag elections on 24th September.
The CDU under top candidate Armin Laschet won with 33.0 percent of the votes and is clearly ahead of the SPD. The SPD of NRW Minister President Hannelore Kraft came to 31.2 percentage points, plunging to a historic low in NRW just before the Bundestag elections.For the SPD it is the worst result since 1947 and the third defeat in the Landtagswahlen.
The third largest party was the FDP, which achieved 12,6 percent, its best result in North Rhine-Westphalia. The AfD followed with 7.4 percent, which for the 13th time succeeded to enter into the regional parliament. The Greens flew out of the government, but made the reintroduction into the Düsseldorf parliament. They received 6.4 percent of the votes. The Left failed at the five percent hurdle: They reached 4.9 percent and did not make it into the state parliament.
The red-green coalition, which had ruled for seven years in NRW, was thus deselected. Hannelore Kraft resigned as NRW regional chairman and federal vice of her SPD party. With her resignation she wanted to give the party “a chance for a new beginning”. As a member of the Landtag, however, Kraft wants to remain in the Landtag. She won the direct mandate in her constituency Mülheim.
The CDU sees itself on the uphill for the Bundestag election in autumn. The winner of the Landtag election, Armin Laschet (CDU), and thus the new Prime Minister, wants to ensure more internal security, better education policy and more jobs in NRW. Thus the CDU receives 72 seats in the Düsseldorf Landtag and the SPD has 69 seats. The Greens represent 14 MPs, the FDP 28 and the AfD 16.
The CDU is now looking for a coalition partner. AfD and the Left are, however, excluded. By losing the party at the five percent hurdle of the Left party, a black-yellow coalition comes exactly to the 100 seats of the absolute majority. Thus, this coalition alliance would have replaced the thinnest parliamentary majority of one vote, although black and yellow did not receive a majority of the electorate votes in the Landtag election. Even if a black-yellow coalition in NRW is likely, a large coalition (CDU + SPD) is not excluded: It has a considerably higher majority in the state parliament. The CDU excluded traffic light and Jamaica alliances.
The CDU has clearly won the election, even though its top candidate Daniel Günther was not even well-known in Schleswig-Holstein. Daniel Günther has won this election with a clear course, with clear messages with regard to transport policy, education policy and internal security. If he succeeds in forging a new coalition government, he would be the first CDU politician to become Prime Minister from the opposition during the Chancellorship of Angelika Merkel.
The result now provides the CDU with hope for the nationwide election in autumn. Rather saddened appears the inferior SPD, which is likely to lose the post of the Prime Minister. The initially positive “Martin Schulz effect” faded. Regardless which coalition will form in Kiel, the elections did not cause a fundamental change in the majority situation in the Bundesrat. CDU election winner Daniel Günther is aiming for a coalition of CDU, FDP and the Greens. However, a large coalition with the SPD; a coalition with the SPD, FDP and Greens; but also a coalition Black, Green and the SSW would be conceivable.
The next Landtag election will take place on 14th May 2017 in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Theresa May’s party won 563 seats. Labor needs to cope with heavy losses
In the midst of tensions between London and Brussels for the completion of the EU exit, local elections were held in the UK on 4th May 2017. Great Britain voted for new municipal parliaments in England, Scotland and Wales. In Scotland, Wales and parts of England, almost 5,000 seats were placed in the municipal parliaments. Additionally, the mayors from six metropolitan regions, including Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, were also elected. The election was considered as an important barometer for the forthcoming parliamentary elections on 8th June 2017.
The end result shows a clear victory for the Conservative Party (Toris) of Prime Minister Theresa May. After counting all 88 constituencies, the Tories won 1,899 seats.
The opposition Labor Party as well as the right-wing populist United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), suffered heavy losses: The clear-cut loser is the right-wing populist anti-EU party UKIP, which will no longer be represented in many municipal parliaments. The party lost all its previous 145 seats and won one seat. Regretfully, the Labor Party has also experienced better times, reaching only 1,152 seats.
Among other things, the mayors of Manchester and Liverpool were elected. Both cities went to the Labour party. Four of the six newly created mayors’ posts went to the Conservatives.
A total of 28 constituencies went to the Tories, only nine to Labor. The Scottish National Party SNP was for the first time the strongest party in Scotland’s largest city Glasgow.
According to the BBC, the final election results are as follows: The Conservatives achieved 38 percent, the Labor Party came to 27 percent and the Liberal Democrats reached 18 percent of the votes. UKIP, on the other hand, breaks down to five percent.
Barber was an outside adviser to President Bill Clinton and a foreign policy adviser to Howard Dean’s 2004 Presidential campaign. He has advised political parties and political leaders in the U.K., Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland and Italy on civic education and participatory institutions. In addition, at the annually IRE conference “KERS” in 2014, he held an eye-catching presentation on mega cities.
The IRE expresses the most sincere condolences and sympathy to his family and will keep him in a particularly honourable memory.
Despite her young age, she has already gained international experience in Europe, Asia and the United States in various organizations including AMREF Health Africa, Red Cross or COPE Trust.