Croatia will hold its first election for its deputies to the European Parliament on 14 April, Croatian President Ivo Josipovic said on Friday.
The president told the press that the decision to call the elections for Croatian MEPs on 14 April was made after he had held consultations with the government, parliamentary parties and nongovernmental organisations.
The head of state stressed that he had opted for the separate organisation of the elections for MEPs and the local elections which Croatia is also due to hold this spiring, that is on 19 May, so that the election for Croatian MEPs “would not be deprived of its autonomy and recognisability”.
“I would like to point out the importance of the elections for deputies to the European Parliament. This will be the first time for the Croatians to elect their representatives to the European Parliament,” Josipovic stressed.
Croatia’s parliament decided on 22 February that the polls for the Croatian MEPs should be organised before the country’s admission to the EU, scheduled for 1 July.
The relevant legislation also introduces open slates for the first time in Croatia’s election practice, which means that apart from voting for the slate of their favourite party, voters can also circle the candidate they deem to be the best choice as a Croatian MEP.
Under Croatia’s Treaty of Accession to the European Union, Croatia, which is set to join the EU on 1 July, should have its 12 members in the European Parliament upon entering the bloc.
The five-year term of the current European Parliament, whose members were elected at the 7 June 2009 polls, expires in June 2014.
Upon signing the Treaty of Accession to the EU, Croatia undertook to elect its first deputies to the EP in the event that the country joins the Union at the time when more than six months remain before the first next regular elections for members of the European Parliament.
Croatia currently has 12 observers in the European Parliament, who were appointed by the Sabor in March last year, according to the representativeness of political parties in the national parliament.