Croatian elections set for Dec. 4

AP News
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Posted: Oct 31, 2011 8:51 AM
Croatian elections set for Dec. 4

Croatia will elect a new parliament in December, and the opposition is favored to win because of ongoing corruption scandals involving the governing party.

Croatia's 151-seat parliament last week voted to dissolve itself, and on Monday Croatian President Ivo Josipovic said the national election will be held on Dec. 4.

The vote will pit the governing conservative Croatian Democratic Union, or HDZ, against a coalition of center-left parties. The opposition parties have led by a large margin in recent polls.

HDZ has been embroiled in a spate of corruption scandals, including alleged involvement in illegal fundraising and accusations that its former leader and ex-Prime Minister Ivo Sanader pocketed millions to help an Austrian bank and a Hungarian oil giant enter the Croatian market.

Croatia's anti-graft bureau on Sunday asked a district court to freeze assets of the governing party, including its headquarters in Zagreb, because of the corruption investigation, state TV reported.

Croatia, the next in line to become European Union's 28th member, has been under EU scrutiny to fight widespread corruption.

HDZ led Croatia throughout its 1991-95 war for independence from the former Yugoslavia. It has ruled the country since, except for the 2001-2003 period when the center-left coalition took over.

The December parliamentary vote will be Croatia's seventh since its 1991 declaration of independence.

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Associated Press writer Dusan Stojanovic contributed from Belgrade.