“Structural stability despite increased fragmentation: The 2021 county elections in Croatia”, Josip Glaurdić and Leo Fel (IPS, Luxembourg)

The 2021 county elections in Croatia were the perfect example of political change amidst continuity. Relatively new parties and independent candidates made significant inroads against the dominant players of the center-right and the center-left, most notably in the capital city of Zagreb, where a novel leftist political platform won the elections conclusively. The rise of new and credible alternatives resulted in increased fragmentation of the county assemblies and likely more unstable regional governments in the near future. On the other hand, the party that has dominated Croatian politics since independence, Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), continued that dominance on the county-level by winning 15 out of 21 offices of county prefects. More important, the determinants of electoral support for the principal political blocs have remained unchanged from the pattern observed in all national elections since the end of Croatia’s War of Independence more than two and a half decades ago.

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