The Gong democracy NGO on Tuesday proposed reducing the number of election constituencies in Croatia from ten to six, and that the number of MPs sent to Parliament from each constituency is made proportional to number of voters there, in order to comply with the constitutional provision guaranteeing equal voting rights.
Addressing a press conference in Zagreb, Gong said that under the current election system, lawmakers are elected in 10 constituencies and each has 14 seats. If constituencies have an equal number of lawmakers then they should have an equal number of the population, however, that has not been the case since 2011, as evident according to the findings of the 2011 census.
Gong’s representative said that the NGO recommends that the number of constituencies be reduced to six and that the number of lawmakers depends on the number of eligible voters which means between 17 and 29 in each constituency.
The smaller number of constituencies with more lawmakers enables a more proportional distribution of seats among those parties that passed the threshold of five-percent votes, says Gong.
“Until now there has been at least one constituency where a party did not win a seat in parliament yet it had crossed the threshold of 5%,” Goran Cular, a professor of the Faculty of Political Science, explained.
In addition to changing the number of constituencies, GONG has proposed that tailoring of their boundaries so that they coincide with county boundaries. In that case, the City of Zagreb would form one constituency whereas now it is divided into four. Four Dalmatian counties, that is Zadar, Sibenik-Knin, Split-Dalmatia and Dubrovnik-Neretva Counties, would form one constituency. Another constituency would consist of the remaining three coastal counties: Istria, Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Lika-Senj.
GONG suggests the Zagreb County, Karlovac County and Sisak-Moslavina County could form another constituency while the other two constituencies would consist of counties in Slavonia and those in northern Croatia.
Apart from the existing 10 constituencies in the territory of Croatia, there is also a constituency designed for expats and Croats living outside the country, and another one designed for ethnic minorities.
Gong commented on the Constitutional Court’s decisions regarding the Most party’s referendum initiative – to abolish mandatory Covid passes, and to transfer the powers of the national Covid response team to Parliament.
“We believe that in reference to the first question, the Constitutional Court overstepped its role and has taken on the role of the creator of the Constitution. As far as the second question is concerned, its decision is good because the legislature cannot take over the power of the executive government,” said Cular.