Croatians in London Newsletter No. 5 January 2005
Welcome to the fifth issue of Croats in London. CIL appears in the first week of every month. This month: The Croatian Presidential Elections in London Noticeboard: Croatian-British cultural links talk. Special Notice: Presidential election - voting in London
The Croatian Presidential Elections in London
Left to Right: Zeljko Toth, Renata Jukic and Mladen Bruning.
Croats went to the polls on Sunday 2 January to elect a president. But it wasn't only in Croatia that Croats were voting. Croatian citizens overseas are able to vote, and a polling station was set up in the Croatian Embassy in London to cater for UK Croats. CIL visited the polling station on election day.
The Croatian Presidential election took place on a Sunday; this is very different from the UK where elections are usually held on a Thursday. Other than that, the process was very similar to what one would encounter in a British polling station.
We spoke to Marina Rogina of the Croatian Embassy, who was co-ordinating for the embassy. She informed CIL that there are six people running the election, split into two groups of three. One group did the morning, the other did the afternoon.
Regarding how Croatian citizens could vote, Marina said "Everyone who votes must prove citizenship and identity."
CIL was curious as to the make-up of voters. "Most of the voters are long-term residents and students. Some tourists were allowed to vote - but they had to present a special certificate from Croatia." Marina told us.
CIL was in the Embassy during the afternoon, about 70 people had voted so far. Marina told us that most had appeared before Mass (at the Croatian church, in the afternoon) and more were expected when Mass ended.
The election group supervising the ballot box at that time consisted of Zeljko Toth (Presiding), Renata Jukic and Mladen Bruning.
This was Zeljko Toth's fourth election acting in such a role. We asked him about the importance of the vote being held in London. "It's very important to exercise the right of an election. We didn't have free elections until 1990. Previously we had one candidate with one choice."
A number of voters came in while CIL were there, some came from places as far off as Darby to vote. Everything was conducted quite efficiently and quickly whilst CIL was there. The Croatian ambassador was also present earlier in the day.
The first round of elections had thirteen candidates and ended with incumbent President Stipe Mesic attaining 49% of the vote, with Jadranka Kosor (HDZ - Croatian Democratic Union) coming in second with 20% of the vote. As no candidate gained over 50% of the vote, Mesic and Kosor will face off in a second round on January 16. The other candidates will not go forward.
It's good to see that Croatian citizens in the UK have an opportunity to vote in person. It is clearly appreciated by the people who came out to vote on a rather cold and miserable day for weather.
Check the special notice below for further information on voting on 16 January.
CIL thanks Marina Rogina at the Croatian Embassy for her help.
Only events run by known and reputable bodies will be listed here.
13 January 2005: Talk by Dr Tomislav Sunic, Minister Counsellor of the Croatian Embassy entitled British-Croatian Cultural Links: A Brief History, 6.30 pm for 7 pm. At the Croatian Embassy - address in useful information below. R.S.V.P. tel: 020 7387 2022 Refreshments will be served
Croatian Presidential Elections 16 January 2005
Croatian citizens in London will be able to cast their vote at these elections. Proof of citizenship will be needed. Please contact the Croatian Embassy (contact details in useful information) for more information. Details are also available at: www.izbori.hr
Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Ambassador: Josip Paro
Address: 21 Conway Street, London W1T 6BN
Tel No: 020 7387 2022
Fax No: 020 7387 0310
Tel No: 020 7387 1144
Fax No: 020 7387 0936
Working hours: Monday - Friday 9.00-17.00
Working hours (with clients): Monday - Thursday 11.00-14.00 Fridays 10.00-12.00
Croatian Students and Young Professionals Network
Address: PO Box 36126, London SW7 2RH
Croatian Catholic Mission
Father Drago Berisic, 17 Boutflower Road, SW11
Tel: 020 7223 3530
Sunday service at 4 pm:
Church of Sacred Heart, Horseferry Road, SW1P 2EF