Croatia Conservatives On Course For Victory At Polls, Coalition Talks

Croatia’s conservatives were poised for victory in Sunday elections, an exit poll showed, putting the ruling HDZ in a strong position for coalition talks to renew its government.

The party, which has dominated Croatia for most of its nearly 30-year independence, was slated to secure 61 seats in the 151-member house, according to Ipsos agency.

Their main rivals, the centre-left coalition led by the Social Democrats (SDP), were far behind with 44 seats.

Lacking an absolute majority, HDZ would need to find other allies to retake power.

One possible option is the new nationalist party led by a folk singer, which was forecast to secure 16 seats according to the poll, revealing a shift to the right be voters.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic (left) is competing with opposition leader Davor Bernardic (centre)and folk singer Miroslav Skoro (right) who heads a right-wing party

The election was held under the heavy shadow of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic effects, with Croatia’s tourism-dependent economy on course for its steepest decline in decades.

HDZ, which has led Croatia for most of its nearly 30 year independence, had been touting its relatively successful containment of the country’s own virus outbreak thus far, with an official tally of roughly 110 deaths and 3,000 infections.

The election campaign has been dominated by the health crisis

The election campaign has been dominated by the health crisis

The party had also presented Prime Minster Andrej Plenkovic, a former MEP with a calm demeanour who enjoys strong backing from Brussels, as a safe pair of hands to navigate the coming economic downturn.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic is hoping the uncertainty of the health crisis will inspire voters to stick with his HDZ, in power since 2016

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic is hoping the uncertainty of the health crisis will inspire voters to stick with his HDZ, in power since 2016

Ahead of the poll 50-year-old Plenkovic had dismissed his rivals as ill-prepared, telling voters that now is the time for “serious choices and not for political quackery”.

The key question is whether HDZ will go in for a tie-up with the nationalist ‘Homeland Movement’ of musician-turned-politician Skoro, who could hold the keys to a full majority.

The 57-year-old, a former HDZ member whose folk tunes were a hit during and after Croatia’s 1990s independence war, made his debut when he finished third as an independent in the December presidential election, inspiring him to form a new movement.

He has drawn criticism from the left for sexist remarks and for tolerance of Croatia’s pro-Nazi past.

The Ipsos poll put the ultra-conservative Most party and a new leftist-green group tied in fourth place with eight seats each.

The biggest task for the new government will be softening the blow of the coronavirus’s looming economic fallout, forecast to be some 10 percent.

“Everyone is scared about what will happen in autumn,” Vesna Trnokop, a 60-year-old economist from Zagreb, told AFP ahed of the poll.

“The coronavirus has changed economies, not only in Croatia, everywhere, so we should change our ideas.”

At polling stations around the country, voters were advised to wear masks and bring their own pens as the European Union country has recorded a new uptick in coronavirus infections in recent weeks.

But the health situation did not appear to dramatically dampen turnout, which at two-and-a-half hours before polls closed was at 34 percent, some three points below the figure in 2016 elections.

Officials also paid home visits to collect the ballots of 500 people — some 10 percent of those in self-isolation — who requested to vote, while others infected with the virus could do so through a proxy.

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Biden ahead of Trump in the polls despite concerns over his cognitive abilities

Sky News contributor Nicholas Reece says when a lot of Individuals might imagine Joe Biden has some problems with his mental faculties, there are a important variety who choose him to President Donald Trump.

According to a Rasmussen poll, 38 for every cent of voters consider Biden has dementia.

Nevertheless, a the latest YouGov poll has presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden main President Trump 47 to 39, whilst the President’s approval score sits at 41 for each cent.

Mr Reece reported 22 for every cent of American girls and 78 for every cent of African-Americans favor Joe Biden to Trump.

“This time I assume they are turning out to vote since they are fired up,” he explained to Sky Information host Paul Murray.

Image: AP

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Eden-Monaro by-election date set, voters will return to polls in July | Goulburn Post

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The date of the 2020 Eden-Monaro by-election has been set with voters to return to the polls in July. On Monday afternoon, Speaker of the House of Representatives Tony Smith announced July 4 would be the day for polling. Nominations for the by-election are to close a month earlier on June 4. The election will be held to fill the vacancy created by former Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly, after he resigned earlier this year due to health reasons. Several parties and independents have already announced they will be running for the seat. Labor is pinning its hopes on Dr Kelly’s replacement Kristy McBain, a lawyer and former mayor of Bega Valley Shire Council. On the weekend the Liberals announced their party’s choice of Fiona Kotvojs, a Dignams Creek businesswoman who was narrowly defeated by Dr Kelly at the 2019 election. Liberal Democrat Dean McCrae, coordinator of the party’s southern districts branch, has entered the fray, as has independent Andrew Thaler, a solar farm developer from Nimmitabel. Bredbo businesswoman Karen Porter is running as an independent under the banner of newly-formed group The New Liberals, the Christian Democratic Party has endorsed Cobargo’s Narelle Storey as their representative and deputy leader of the Science Party James Jansson will also run. Also, the Greens are expected to run a candidate. The by-election has already made headlines in recent times, over speculation NSW Nationals leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro would run for federal politics as well as Member for Bega Andrew Constance’s decision to withdraw from consideration in the by-election less than 24 hours after pledging he would run for the seat. On Monday, Mr Smith said the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) advises in normal circumstances that it is preferable not to have elections during school holidays, but with the current challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic the advice was different on this occasion. “The AEC has undertaken extensive consultations, including with the NSW Department of Education, because a significant number of polling places are located at schools,” he said. “As a result, the AEC has advised me that it is preferable to have a polling date where students and staff do not return to school on the very next Monday. “This will then enable a thorough sanitizing clean after the completion of voting and counting at polling booths at NSW schools.” Mr Smith said while he could issue the writ on Monday, he had decided to issue it on Thursday, May 28, to give the AEC a few more days of preparation before the by-election timetable begins, and to enable them to consult with relevant stakeholders about the conduct of the by-election during this time.

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Maharashtra MLC Election 2020: Election Commission to hold Maharashtra legislative council polls on May 21 | India News

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: The Election Commission on Friday decided to hold polls to the nine Maharashtra Legislative Council seats on May 21, giving Uddhav Thackeray an opportunity to become a member of the state legislature within the six-month deadline to remain chief minister.
The polls were deferred due to the spread of coronavirus.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, who was sworn in on November 28 last year, has time till May 27 to get elected to the state legislature, failing which he will have to step down.
Maharashtra governor B S Koshyari had requested the Election Commission on Thursday to declare polls for nine vacant seats to the state legislative council.
Sources in the poll panel said a decision has been taken to hold the polls before May 27.
They, however, refused to share details.

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday called on governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai.
The meeting lasted for about 20 minutes, a Raj Bhavan statement said.
During the meeting, Thackeray exchanged greetings with the governor on the occasion of the 60th foundation day of Maharashtra state.
The meeting comes a day after Koshyari wrote to the Election commission of India (ECI) requesting it to hold biennial elections to the nine vacant seats of the state Legislative Council at the earliest to facilitate Thackeray’s election to the Upper House of the state legislature.
The governor’s request came after Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday called Prime Minister Narendra Modi about his nomination to the state legislative council. According to sources, Thackeray sought Prime Minister Modi’s help, saying if it doesn’t happen, he will have to resign.
The biennial elections for the nine vacant seats have been postponed in view of the coronavirus crisis.
Thackeray was sworn in as the state chief minister on November 28 last year. He has to become a legislator by May 27 as per the constitutional norms.
The state cabinet has recommended to the governor twice to nominate Thackeray to the Council as two out of 12 seats nominated by him (governor) are lying vacant.
(With agency inputs)
In Video:Maharashtra: EC to hold legislative council polls on May 21

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