Croatians go to polls in their first EU vote
ZAGREB - Agence France-Presse
Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic. AA photoCroatians voted for their first European Parliament deputies yesterday amid tepid enthusiasm for membership in the E.U. that the Balkan country is set to join on July 1.
Officials in the former Yugoslav republic have insisted that the vote to select the 12 lawmakers is “historic” and a key milestone on a path marked by years of difficult reforms, but turnout is expected to be low among the 3.7 million registered voters. “These are the first European elections in Croatia’s history,” Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said after casting his ballot in the capital Zagreb. Opinion polls show that slightly more than half of the population want Croatia to become the European Union’s 28th member. However analysts say that enthusiasm for membership of the bloc has faded due to a difficult domestic economy as well as problems within the bloc. Milanovic, whose center-left coalition government took over from corruption-plagued conservatives in late 2011, said he believed that the turnout would be higher than Europe’s average.