After winning the mayoral elections on May 30 of last year, Ivica Puljak and his team gathered in the liberal party ‘Centar’ were looking to set the political course for the future of Split. Having won only 7 out of 31 seats in the city council, Puljak’s government found themselves having to align with nearly every other party that had won seats in council, forming a great alliance against the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and their partner Željko Kerum and his Hrvatska Građanska Stranka (HGS).
A year into their governance of the city, Puljak and his right-hand man, Bojan Ivošević, previously the poster child for municipal activism, found themselves unable to steer the proverbial ship having being consistently challenged by some of their partner-parties. The result of discord among the ruling parties, which came to a surprise to many in Split, was Puljak and Ivošević, among other members of ‘Centar’, submitting their resignations and forcing another round of elections.
The first round of elections, which took place on June 26, resulted in a huge reshuffling of the 2021 votes, with Centar managing to win by almost a landslide, having won 42,47% of votes and nearly being able to hold the majority in the city on their own. Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) came in a distant second with 23,81%, followed by Željko Kerum and HGS with 7,11%.
Put into mandates, Centar now holds 15 out of 31 council spots, with HDZ trailing behind with 8. The four lesser parties, Kerum, MOST, SDP and Domovinski Pokret, have 2 mandates each. This now means that Centar only has to have the support of one of 3 bottom parties to hold a comfortable majority in the city council.
The second round of elections, used exclusively to elect a new mayor out of the two best-ranked candidates from the first-round of elections, took place on July 10, 2022. No major surprised were expected and the results, which was confirmed after vote counting with Puljak raking in 27.300 votes or 66,14%, while HDZ’s Zoran Đogaš brought home less than half of Puljak’s amount with 12.829 votes or 31,86%.
The new-old mayor Ivica Puljak and his associates are scheduled to take over their municipal positions on July 15. After that Puljak and his government will have less than 3 years before the regular municipal elections of 2025, during which they will have a tough job ahead of them to solidify their political future as the municipal leaders of Split, a town that hardly ever reelects its mayors.