About 6,750 polling stations in Croatia were opened at 7 am on Sunday at which 3.74 million eligible voters are electing members of parliament for the second time in ten months.

About 2,500 candidates are running for 151 seats in parliament - 140 are elected in ten constituencies in Croatia, eight are elected by members of ethnic minorities in Constituency 12 and three by Croats residing abroad in Constituency 11. Eligible citizens can vote for 177 slates in 11 constituencies and for 29 candidates in Constituency 12.

The early parliamentary election is being monitored by about 12,000 observers, including about 8,000 from the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party. Nearly 80,000 people are working on the election.

This is the second parliamentary election in which citizens can give a preferential vote.

"This is the first early parliamentary election and voters' responsibility for the political situation, the state of democracy, seems bigger to me," State Election Commission (DIP) president Branko Hrvatin has said, urging citizens to go to the polls.

Polling stations will close at 7 pm. Voting is also possible in 49 other countries, yesterday and today.

DIP will publish the first incomplete results at midnight today.

The previous parliament dissolved in June after a political crisis which saw the parliamentary majority, for the first time in Croatia, topple its own government led by non-partisan Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic.

The HDZ-led Patriotic Coalition was the relative winner of the previous parliamentary election last November and formed the government with the Bridge party, but their cooperation was challenging and marred by conflicts which culminated in June when the HDZ, to avoid a parliamentary vote of confidence in its then president and First Deputy PM Tomislav Karamarko, initiated the toppling of the government, which a parliamentary majority eventually did. After that, the HDZ could not form a new majority without Bridge and parliament decided to dissolve.

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