Regional elections in Croatia: a warning shot?
In the regional and local elections in Croatia on Sunday, the major parties did worse than expected, especially in the big cities. In the capital Zagreb, the green-left candidate Tomislav Tomašević of the Možemo alliance won 45.15 percent of the vote. He will now compete in a run-off election on 30 May against the singer Miroslav Škoro, founder of the right-wing populist Homeland Movement DPMŠ.
Grapes of wrath await the harvest
A failure to heed the general mood was the cause of the major parties' poor performance in the local elections in Zagreb, Novi list complains:
“If the political elites on the left and right fail to draw an elementary conclusion from this situation - namely that they must pay attention when people are truly fed up - the Zagreb scenario could repeat itself at the national level in three years' time. ... Even if some parts of the Možemo! programme are quite questionable, they will not introduce any kind of communist dictatorship in Zagreb. Nor will Škoro, if by some miracle he wins, introduce a right-wing authoritarian system. But if the coronavirus problems drag an already disappointed and embittered Croatia into even deeper problems, it cannot be ruled out that a radical option that does not yet exist will reap the grapes of popular wrath in 2024.”
Plenty of propaganda but no programme
Beyond populist slogans Škoro has little to offer, finds Jutarnji list:
“When he described [the opposing candidate Tomašević's coalition] Možemo! as hard left, Škoro sent all Zagreb back in time. That makes sense to him. That's where he feels most comfortable, boosting his popularity by intimidating political opponents and threatening voters that if they vote for Tomašević they will have to go to work actions, lay tram tracks and dig sewage pipes [as in the socialist era]. ... In concentrating on Zagreb's ideological leanings, Škoro doesn't need to present a programme.”