The number of voters in the diaspora registered in the electoral roll and eligible to vote at the European parliamentary election on Sunday, May 26, has increased 42 times or by a mind-boggling 4,244% compared to the European election held in 2014, the Jutarnji List daily reported in its Tuesday edition.
In 2014, there were 3,637 diaspora voters in the electoral roll and now there are 154,358 voters. This enormous increase of eligible diaspora voters is the result of a law on the electoral roll, passed during the term of the Social Democratic Party (SDP)-led government in 2015, the daily reported.
The law, sponsored by the then public administration minister, Arsen Bauk, makes it possible for voters residing abroad to not have to physically register in the electoral roll in diplomatic representations but rather all adult citizens with a valid Citizen's Identification Card are automatically registered.
The electoral roll has to be completed ten days prior to an election, and according to the electoral roll concluded on Friday by incumbent Public Administration Minister Lovro Kuscevic, 3,831,389 citizens will be eligible to vote at the EU election on May 26.
Of that number, 154,358 are diaspora voters and 3,677,031 have residence in Croatia and only 13 are citizens of other EU countries who wish to cast their ballot in Croatia. Of the 154,358 voters residing abroad, 144,561 were registered automatically, the ministry explained. Croatian diaspora voters who do not have an ID card showing their address abroad but prove their citizenship with a passport, may vote at Croatian diplomatic missions if they have applied to vote, and 9,547 citizens have done so, the daily said.
The number of voters registered automatically has tripled since the last parliamentary election in 2016 even though the law enabling this had been in force since 2015. The ministry explained, however, that the reason for this was that the possibility of being issued an ID card showing one's residence abroad, entered into force only in mid-2016, the Jutarnji List says.
The daily adds that the increase of 92,681 more voters for the EU parliamentary election (there were 3,738,708 voters in the 2013 election) has caused doubts that the numbers have been manipulated.