Local elections in Croatia: paving the way for change?

The second round of local elections in Croatia ended on Sunday. The capital Zagreb now has its youngest mayor ever - 39-year-old Tomislav Tomašević of the left-wing, green alliance Možemo. The conservative ruling party HDZ also lost control of previous strongholds such as Split and Knin. Commentators are at odds over how much of an impact the election results will have on the country.

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Delo (SI) /

The past is losing relevance

The fact that the ruling HDZ party has lost important strongholds shows that Slovenia's Croatian neighbours are slowly starting to look forwards instead of backwards, Delo is pleased to say:

“The winners in Zagreb, Split, and Knin have promised more transparency. Voters believe them, because they hope for a transparent tomorrow. This is clearly a sign that a large part of the Croatian electorate is actually more interested in what will happen in the future. This is a big step forward for Croatia, because there are still a number of sceptics in the country who are convinced that the past is more important than the present and the future.”

Azonnali (HU) /

There can be no talk of change

Left-wing victories in the cities won't alter the political balance of power in Croatia anytime soon, Azonnali contends:

“The results of the local elections will hardly have any impact on politics at the national level. Looking at the results in the cities, one might get the impression that the HDZ's situation is dire. However, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's centre-right party has the rural areas on its side and could still easily win a parliamentary election.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Hope dies last

The new faces must now back up their election promises with deeds, Večernji list reminds us:

“Citizens voted this May for changes that were handed to them on a platter. The lesson for politicians is that someone who was the big boss in the city yesterday can be a nobody tomorrow and have to watch from the sidelines as the new hero is cheered on. But will there really be changes for the better? Who knows. Voters are left with no more than the Latin proverb 'dum spiro, spero': As long as I breathe, I hope.”