All 138 seats to Chamber of Representatives
70 seats needed for a majority
Parliamentary elections were held alongside presidential elections in Croatia on 2 August 1992, the first after independence and under the new constitution. All 138 seats in the Chamber of Representatives were up for election. The result was a victory for the Croatian Democratic Union, which won an absolute majority of 85 seats. Voter turnout was 75.6%.
The circumstances under which elections took place were extraordinary - one third of the country was occupied by Krajina forces, while Croatia itself was involved in war raging in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina. Few people, however, doubted their legitimacy because old Parliament, elected under old Communist Constitution and in a time when Croatia had been part of Yugoslavia, clearly didn't correspond to new political realities.
Although new Constitution called for two houses of Parliament, only one - House of Representative - was elected.
New electoral laws, written by Smiljko Sokol, were passed and new voting system - combination of first past the post and proportional representation was introduced. 60 members were to be elected in individual constituencies while 60 seats were to be distributed among those candidates' lists who broke 2% threshold. 12 seats were reserved for expatriate Croatians, while the Parliament had to have at least 15 members belonging to ethnic minorities - 11 Serbs and 4 others.
Franjo Tudjman and his Croatian Democratic Union party entered campaign with great confidence, because Croatia, despite being partially occupied, had won independence and international recognition under his leadership. State-controlled media at the time presented war as practically won and peaceful reintegration of Krajina a mere formality that would occur in very foreseeable future.
However, the very same period saw the emergence of opposition to Tudjman's regime, centred mostly around politicians and parties who criticised Tudjman's conduct of war and found government to be too appeasing towards international community and Serbs. Other opposition leaders were troubled by Tudjman's autocratic tendencies and visible decline of democratic standards in Croatia.
Social Democratic Party of Croatia, which was nominally the main opposition party, based on its representation in old Parliament, was in comparison somehow friendly towards Tudjman. This could be explained with its precarious position - it lost most of its membership to defections, many of its disgruntled voters defected to other parties, while many Croatians associated that party with all Communism. Many analysts and opinion polls believed SDP would fail to break 2% threshold.
This allowed HDZ to win constituencies deemed hopeless by the split opposition, sometimes with barely 18% of the vote. HDZ won around 40% of the vote on the national level, but it also won 54 out of 60 individual constituencies. The only places where HDZ was soundly beaten is Istria, where local Istrian Democratic Assembly won all 3 constituencies, while one seat in nearby city of Rijeka was taken by Vladimir Bebi?, representative of Alliance of Primorje - Gorski Kotar. One seat, representing then-occupied Vukovar was won by independent candidate, while one seat in Medjimurje was one by HSLS.
Although HDZ won comfortable majority, opposition could comfort themselves with emergence of HSLS as the strongest opposition party. Other parties to enter Sabor were HNS, Croatian Peasant Party, Croatian Party of Rights, Dalmatian Action, SDP and Serb Popular Party.
The latter had their representative in Parliament elected by the decision of Constitutional Court, in order to fill quota of ethnic Serbs. This decision was controversial, because the Court explained its decision by branding SNS as "ethnic party" and, therefore, more entitled to represent Serb ethnic minority than any other party. This was at the expense of left-wing Social Democratic Union party, which won more votes than SNS and had more than enough ethnic Serb candidates on its list to fill the quota.
This election, together with presidential election, was also associated with alleged vote fraud. After the elections some opposition candidates accused ruling party of stealing the votes and rigging the result in favour of their candidates, especially in constituencies where the election was close. The best known of such accusations related to one Zagreb constituency where HDZ candidate and future Sabor speaker Nedjeljko Mihanovi? won seat and defeated HSLS candidate Relja Ba?i? only after receiving couple of hundred votes allegedly cast in Croatian prisons.
|Croatian Democratic Union||1,176,437||44.68||31||54||85|
|Croatian Social Liberal Party||466,356||17.71||12||1||14|
|Croatian Party of Rights||186,000||7.06||5||0||5|
|Croatian People's Party||176,214||6.69||4||0||6|
|Social Democratic Party||145,419||5.52||3||0||11|
|Croatian Peasant Party||111,869||4.25||3||0||3|
|Croatian Democratic Party||72,303||2.7||0||0||0|
|Croatian Christian Democratic Party||70,715||2.7||0||0||0|
|Social Democratic Union||32,475||1.2||0||0||0|
|Socialist Party of Croatia||31,575||1.2||0||0||0|
|Serb People's Party||28,620||1.1||0||0||3|
|Social Democratic Party of Croatia||15,798||0.6||0||0||0|
¹ Includes seats for national minorities