Catholic bishops in Croatia have issued a statement on the importance of the early parliamentary election, set for 11 September, calling on "the faithful and other citizens who care for Croatia" to go to the polls and take over responsibility for the fundamental values and prosperity of the entire society and for the further promotion of democracy in Croatia.
Concerning efforts to make "a responsible and well-thought-out decision" on the choice of candidates running in the snap election, the dignitaries urge voters to acquaint themselves with platforms offered by candidates and put a special emphasis on programmes pertaining to the management of the sea, forests and agricultural resources.
The bishops say that support should be given to those ready to create preconditions for job creation and those who can halt widening gaps in the society, primarily the emigration of young people and families from Croatia.
"We are called to give our trust to those who advocate the protection of marriage as a union of man and woman and who promote the culture of life through pro-birth policy."
Against a backdrop of a recent debate on the curriculum reform, the dignitaries say that it is particularly important to notice the directions of educational policies of different political camps.
Having in mind long-standing efforts to prevent the prosecution of atrocities committed by the Communist dictatorship, it is important to recognise how individual political camps intend to deal with the Communist era, the bishops say. Pushing under the carpet such topics additionally divides the society, they note in their statement in the run-up to the election.
As for the further democratisation of the society, the bishops urge voters to consider how political parties or independent candidates intend to conduct the democratisation of society through the amendment of electoral legislation and development of civil society based on principles of pluralism and religious freedoms.