Zagreb - Some 3.8 million Croatian voters in the country and abroad will go to the polls on Sunday to elect a new, 8th legislature consisting of 151 deputies. Of them, 140 are elected in ten constituencies in Croatia itself, three are elected as deputies of ethnic Croats abroad and expatriates, and eight deputies representing ethnic minorities.
Voting will be held in Croatia on Sunday and in 48 countries on Saturday and Sunday.
These are the eighth parliamentary elections since Croatia gained independence, and for the first time Croatian voters are given a chance to rank preference ballots, which means that they may circle not only the slate they vote for but also a candidate on the given slate.
A candidate who musters at least 10% of the ballots cast for their slate in that way will have an advantage over other candidates on the 14-name slate.
Political parties and coalitions, with the Social Democratic Party (SDP)-led coalition "Croatia is Growing" and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)- led "Patriotic Coalition" as main contenders, are vying for 151 seats in the Sabor.
There are more than 2,300 candidates on 161 slates nominated by political parties and on five independent lists plus 41 candidates representing ethnic minorities.
A total of 6,574 polling stations will be open in Croatia from 7 am to 7 pm on Sunday, plus 114 polling stations abroad and special polling booths which will be set up for armed forces servicemen on duty, in prisons and in social welfare institutions.
Some 13,000 election observers have been registered to monitor the vote and most of them are representatives of the political parties.
The State Election Commission (DIP) is set to publish a preliminary election outcome at 10 pm Sunday, which is slightly later than before because it will take longer to count the ballots because of preferential votes.