Croatian parliamentary election, 1990
Parliamentary elections were held in SR Croatia on 22 April 1990, with a second round of voting on 6 May. The first free elections since multi-party politics were introduced, they resulted in a victory for the Croatian Democratic Union, which won 55 of the 80 seats of the Social-Political Council. In the first round voter turnout was 84.5%.
On February 15, 1990 parliament adopted amendments LIV to LXIII of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Croatia, as well as a series of electoral laws which allowed for the first multi-party elections in the country. The form of parliament that was about to be elected remained unchanged from the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution:
- Council of Municipalities (Vijeće općina, VO)
- Council of Socio-Political Organisations (Društveno-političko vijeće, DPV)
- Council of Associated Labour (Vijeće udruženog rada, VUR)
The latter represented "working people" of various professions and because of that special elections were held on Monday, allowing voters to cast their ballots at their respective workplaces.
The new electoral law, devised by Smiljko Sokol and modelled on French electoral legislation, introduced a runoff voting system. A candidate getting more than 50% would win the first round outright but failing that, all candidates winning at least 7% of the votes could enter the second round. The elections were called for April 22 and 23, with a second round on May 6 and 7.
Elections for Parliament were also held in conjunction with elections for municipal assemblies (with an identical runoff voting system).
At the very start of the campaign three major blocs emerged:
- The first one was dominated by League of Communists of Croatia, re-branded as the League of Communists of Croatia-Party for Democratic Change (which has the initials SDP in Croatian) and led by Ivica Račan.
- The second was Coalition of People's Accord, very broad coalition of small parties representing Communist-dissidents, liberals, anti-Communists, and moderate nationalists gathered around Croatian Spring leaders Savka Dabčević-Kučar and Miko Tripalo.
- The third group was dominated by more radical Croatian nationalists and led by Franjo Tuđman and his Croatian Democratic Union party (which has the initials HDZ in Croatian).
The electoral law and superior organisational abilities of HDZ founders gradually narrowed the contest down to only two options – SDP and HDZ. The former tried to win by describing the latter as dangerous nationalist extremists and relying on votes of ethnic Serbs. The latter very skillfully used both decades of Croatian dissatisfaction with Communism and Yugoslavia and fear of emerging Serb nationalism embodied by Slobodan Milošević.
The campaign got very heated, but was surprisingly non-violent, except in ethnically mixed areas where the first incidents (which in retrospect can be seen as the harbingers of the full-scale warfare of a year later) took place. One of such incidents happened in city of Benkovac, where an ethnic Serb attacked Franjo Tuđman during election rally.
The first results were announced in the evening of 22 April. Although the HDZ failed to win an outright majority in the first round, the number of seats won and percentage of votes made it clear that the SDP was going to lose power to the HDZ and that it was likely that the HDZ would become the governing party for some time to come. This triggered a mass defection of government officials to the HDZ.
Yet, despite this historic setback, there was relatively little change in actual percentage of votes in second round, mostly because Coalition of People's Accord candidates who had qualified refused to quit the race. This allowed SDP to win some constituencies, especially in urban, middle-class and ethnic Serb areas.
The final outcome was indisputably clear. HDZ won almost two thirds of the seats and clear mandate to push any legislative and constitutional agenda. SDP became the second largest party in Parliament. The minuscule remainder of the seats was shared by the Coalition of People's Accord, the Serb Democratic Party and a few independent candidates.
|Results of the election for the Social-Political Council of the Socialist Republic of Croatia|
|Party||First round||Second round||Total
|Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)||1,201,122||41.9||55|
|League of Communists of Croatia – Party for Democratic Change-Socialist Party of Croatia (SKH-SDP - SSH)||1,001,967||35.0||20|
|Coalition of People's Accord (KNS)||439,372||15.3||3|
|Serb Democratic Party (SDS)||46,418||1.6||1|
|Yugoslav Independent Democratic Party||13,560||0.5||0|
|European Green List||12,282||0.4||0|
|Rijeka Democratic Union||8,008||0.3||0|
|Source: Nohlen & Stöver|
|Overall results of the election for all three houses of parliament of the Socialist Republic of Croatia|
|KNS (HSLS, SDSH, HKDS, HDS, non-party members)||21|
|Independents and minorities||13|
- Grdešić, Ivan; Kasapović, Mirjana; Šiber, Ivan; Zakošek, Nenad (1991). Hrvatska u izborima '90. [Croatia in the Election of '90]. Zagreb, Croatia: Naprijed. ISBN 86-349-0279-X.
- "Izbori za zastupnike u Sabor Republike Hrvatske (22.04.1990. i 06.05.1990.)" (in Croatian). State Election Committee. Retrieved 2011-12-26.
- Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p410 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
- Nohlen & Stöver, p414
- Hrvatska politička elita na početku demokratske tranzicije
- Robert Podolnjak (September 2008). "Hrvatsko izborno zakonodavstvo: moguće i nužne promjene" [Croatian electoral legislation: possible and necessary amendments]. Zbornik radova Pravnog fakulteta u Splitu (in Croatian) (University of Split, Faculty of Law) 45 (2): 305–343. ISSN 0584-9063. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
- "Predsjednik Josipović na svečanosti u prigodi obilježavanja Dana Hrvatskog sabora i 20-te obljetnice prvog demokratskog izabranog višestranačkog Sabora RH" (in Croatian). Office of the President of Croatia. HINA. 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2011-11-18.