>Croatia: grey day for pensioners’ party, as reformed nationalists win surprise victory

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And – as with the Scottish elections earlier this year – so with the Croatian elections pre-election speculation about gains for a pensioners’ party prove groundless amid low turnout and a polarized two-horse race. Unofficial results suggest that the reformed nationalists of the HDZ have pulled ahead of the ex-communist social democratic opposition, the reverse of what exit polls predicted. Meanwhile, the Croatian Pensioners Party (HSU) seems likely to drop from 3 deputies to 1 deputy – it’s the peasant party (HSS) are the winners in the minor party race this time – but not to be wiped out as exit polling had forecast. HSU leader Vladimir Jordan (pictured) may be spared the need to resign as he had promised if the party got no seats, but clearly has nothing to be cheerful about. At least, he didn’t promise to eat a beetle like the overconfident leader of the Czech Pensioners for a Secure Life party 1998. Minor party success though seems be as much about the disfunctionality and failure of established big parties than the inherent attractiveness of little interest parties.

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