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ZAGREB (Croatia), May 22 (SeeNews) - The ruling centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) remains convincingly ahead of its rivals in the run-up to the European Parliament elections in the country on May 26, the results of the latest opinion polls show.
A quarter of the decided respondents, or 24.5%, said they would vote for HDZ in the survey conducted by Promocija Plus agency during May 13-18 among 1,400 people for state broadcaster HRT.
Support for HDZ has been stable in the past months, slightly declining from 26% in April, figures show.
Main opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) comes second but considerably behind with 16.4% support (up from 16.2% in April), followed by populist Zivi Zid with 7.4% (down from 7.9%), the newly-formed centre-left Amsterdam Coalition (AMS) with 6.9% (down from 7.0%) and the Bridge of Independent Lists (Most) with 6.7% (up from 5.6%).
Translated into European Parliament seats, the results of the survey mean that HDZ would control five of Croatia's 11 seats, SDP would have three, while Zivi Zid, AMS and Most will have one each.
Similar results were reported by marketing research agency Ipsos, which conducted a poll for Nova TV during April 15-25 among 841 people.
The Ipsos survey gave 26.9% support in the elections (or five MEP seats) to HDZ, three MEPs, or 17.4%, to SDP and one seat each to Zivi Zid (8.7%), AMS (7.1%) and Most (6.0%).
In the previous European Parliament elections held in 2014, HDZ and SDP both competed as part of larger coalitions. Back then, the coalition around HDZ won six European Parliament seats (including four for HDZ), while the SDP-led alliance won four seats (two of them going to SDP) and one seat went to green centre-left Sustainable Development of Croatia (ORaH).
However, ORaH's popularity has been declining ever since Croatia's general election in 2015 when the party won less than 2% of the vote. Consequently, Davor Skrlec, who has been a Croatian MEP representing ORaH, left the party in 2016, citing discontent with its management and passivity on major problems in the Croatian society.
In Croatia, HDZ and SDP were also the two biggest rivals in the last general election held in 2016. Following the vote, HDZ grabbed 61 of 151 seats in the national assembly, while the SDP-led People's Coalition won 54 seats. The new coalition cabinet led by former MEP Andrej Plenkovic was formed by HDZ, Most and national minority parties.
The vote for MEPs on Sunday will see SDP competing independently, outside coalitions, for the first time since 2011. The vote is therefore considered a major test for SDP's ability to remain the largest opposition party in the country.
In July 2013, when Croatia joined the European Union under the governance of an SDP-led coalition, SDP's Neven Mimica became the country's first European Commissioner responsible for consumer protection in the second Barroso Commission. In the current Juncker-led Commission, Mimica has been serving as European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development since November 2014.