Tihomir Oreskovic.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Dario GRZELJ /dag

Voting in Croatia's parliamentary elections got off to a sluggish start early Sunday, in the second poll of its kind in just 10 months.  

Four and a half hours into the 12-hour voting day, the election turnout stood at 18.9 per cent. 

That was by around 3 percentage points down compared to the same time in the November 2015 vote, the state election commission said. The final turnout then was 60.2 per cent.

The snap poll was forced when the coalition of the conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and newcomer reformist party Most collapsed after just five months.

Pollsters and analysts predict further political instability in Croatia, with no clear-cut winner expected. 

THe HDZ and the opposition Social Democratic Party were tipped to run a neck-in-neck race, with the Most likely to again come in third and play the role of kingmaker in coalition talks.

The election campaign in the EU's newest member state has been largely focused on political smearing, with little attention paid to concrete issues such as Croatia's fragile economic recovery.

Around 3.8 million voters are eligible to cast ballots from 7 am to 7 pm (0500-1700 GMT). Exit polls are expected shortly after voting ends and first results within a few hours.

More on this story

Live blog: Croatian parliamentary election 2016

The State Electoral Commission (DIP) on Monday released complete results of Sunday's early parliamentary election, confirming the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) as the relative election winner.

Related stories

Voter apathy marks Croatian snap poll

Polls close in Australia's eastern coast

Latest news

Trump administration opens door for mass deportations

The US Department of Homeland Security laid the groundwork Tuesday for mass deportations of immigrants living illegally in the United States under an executive order by President Donald Trump last month.

Brexit bill: House of Lords says public can change mind on leaving EU

The British public should be able to change their minds on Brexit - just as Prime Minister Theresa May did, the upper chamber of parliament heard Tuesday during a marathon debate on legislation to kick off EU negotiations.

Italian lawmakers, rights activists clash over gay sex club scandal

Gay rights activists and conservative politicians clashed Tuesday after the chief of Italy's anti-discrimination office quit over allegations that money had been authorized for gay sex clubs.

EU countries agree new rules to avoid tax evasion

European Union finance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday reached a political agreement on new rules to ensure that multinational corporations do not declare profits in the countries where they pay the least tax but in the countries where they generate it.

Trump condemns "horrible, painful" anti-Jewish incidents

US President Donald Trump condemned a recent spate of threats against Jewish community targets across the United States, during a visit Tuesday to the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

FinMin expects Croatia to exit Excessive Deficit Procedure this spring

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Tuesday Croatia could exit the Excessive Deficit Procedure this spring and that it was showing progress in correcting macroeconomic imbalances.

Austria seeks to create jobs, but new EU immigrants need not apply

Austria plans to create 160,000 jobs in the next three years by subsidizing companies, but the project has raised concerns because it effectively excludes people who recently immigrated from other EU countries.

Juncker: Not good for W. Balkans that some in Washington want to water down EU

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday it was not good for Western Balkan countries that some people in the new US administration gave the impression of being against the European Union because those countries needed the prospects of EU membership.

Citizens invited to help create Croatian version of Monopoly

A project to create a Croatian edition of Monopoly, in which citizens can participate by submitting proposals and which could become a souvenir for tourists, was presented at a press conference on Tuesday.

German state approves full-face veil ban

Legislation that bans face veils in select public spaces and situations was agreed by the government of the southeastern German state of Bavaria on Tuesday.

Indian restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok named Asia's best for third year

Bangkok's Indian eatery Gaggan on Tuesday was named the best restaurant in Asia for the third consecutive year by Asia's 50 Best Restaurants.

HGK: 16 Croatian companies to exhibit at IDEX defence exhibition

Sixteen Croatian companies will exhibit their products at the 13th IDEX 2017 defence exhibition in Abu Dhabi, to be held on February 19-23.

Trump and the nuclear codes: Carnival again takes aim at politicians

US President Donald Trump, Brexit, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Germany's right-wing AfD party: Floats unveiled Tuesday for this year's Carnival parades in Cologne and Mainz once again turn to political satire to entertain revellers.

Barcelona police open fire on stolen lorry laden with gas canisters

Security forces in Barcelona opened fire on a stolen lorry laden with gas canisters to bring a rampage through the city to an end, police in the Spanish city said on Tuesday.

Stuttgart to issue bans on high-polluting diesel vehicles from 2018

Most diesel vehicles will be banned from roads in the southern German city of Stuttgart during times of heavy pollution, a bid to clean up the city's air, the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg decided Tuesday.