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Croatia: Unofficial Election Results Endorse President's Party

Zagreb, 14 April 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Unofficial results in Croatia's local and parliamentary elections yesterday show Croatian voters endorsed the status quo, largely giving their backing to the nationalist Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party of President Franjo Tudjman.

The unofficial results obtained by Radio Free Europe in Zagreb show the HDZ increased its majority in country-wide elections for the upper house of parliament.

Tudjman's party was also ahead in voting for the Zagreb city council, the object of a prolonged struggle between the president and the opposition. Early results showed the HDZ winning 24 of seats that have been decided on the 54-seat council. Other big vote-getters were the opposition Social Democrats with 13 seats and the opposition Social Liberals with nine seats.

The opposition appears to have held onto city councils in several other big cities, including Split and Dubrovnik, which they already controlled.

In Eastern Slavonia, the Serb majority in the last Serb-held region of Croatia, continued voting today as problems marred the process for the second day in a row. The UN agency running the elections criticized the Croatian government for not providing adequate support. It said lists of voters were incomplete and ballot papers were slow in coming from Zagreb.