Representatives are elected to the Parliament on the basis of universal and equal suffrage by all Croatian citizens who are 18 years of age and over (hereinafter: voters).
With Article 4 of the AAAERCSP (Official Gazette 53/03), which entered into force on 2 April 2003, the words: "House of Representatives of the Parliament" were replaced with the word: "Parliament", and the words: "and representatives to the House of Counties of the Parliament on the basis of universal suffrage" were deleted.
With Article 3 of the Act on Amendments to the Act on the Elections of Representatives to the Croatian Parliament (Official Gazette 19/15), which entered into force on 25 February 2015, part of the text was deleted.
Croatian citizens who are 18 years of age or over may stand for election to the office of representative.
With Article 1 of the Act on Amendments to the Act on the Elections of Representatives to the Croatian Parliament (Official Gazette 145/10; hereinafter: AAAERCP), which entered into force on 1 January 2011, a new paragraph 2 was added, which read: "Voters who are members of national minorities accounting for less than 1.5% of the population of the Republic of Croatia, in addition to universal suffrage, shall also have special suffrage in the elections of representatives to the Parliament"; however, the provision was repealed by a Decision of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia (Official Gazette 93/11).
The Decision of the Croatian Parliament does not give an authoritative interpretation of Article 4 in connection with Articles 15 and 16 (Official Gazette 167/03) with an explanation that: "pursuant to Article 141 of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities constitutes integral part of the legal system of the Republic of Croatia. In accepting this Framework Convention, the Republic of Croatia has undertaken: "to adopt, whenever necessary, adequate measures to promote, in all areas of economic, social, political and cultural life, full and effective equality between national minorities and members of the majority nation. In this respect, they shall take due account of the specific conditions of national minorities," and that: 'The measures adopted in accordance with paragraph 2 shall not be considered an act of discrimination" (Article 4, paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities).
The provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia guaranteeing universal and equal suffrage at direct elections by secret ballot (Article 45, paragraph 1) and which, along with universal suffrage, allow national minorities the right to elect their representatives to the Croatian Parliament, constitute a measure ensuring (and not only promoting, as required by the Framework Convention) full and effective equality between members of national minorities and members of the Croatian majority.
Along with ensuring the said measures, the Republic of Croatia has also established conditions for the achievement of full and effective equality between members of national minorities and members of the Croatian majority. Pursuant to Article 15 of the Framework Convention, adoption of the Constitutional Act on the Rights of National Minorities and the Act on the Elections of Representatives to the Croatian Parliament provide not only for direct application of the principle of equality, but also ensure that the distinct characteristics and specific interests of national minorities are taken into account, and ensure the possibility, based on universal suffrage, that this right may in fact be exercised precisely through the election of members of national minorities to serve as representatives in the Croatian Parliament, and that there is a guaranteed number of said representatives irrespective of election results for representatives from the Croatian majority. Of course, this guarantee to members of national minorities is not considered to be an act of discrimination against members of the majority nation, but is rather to be considered one of the values on which the system of constitutional rights in the Republic of Croatia is founded.
This position ensues from the unequivocal will of the Croatian Parliament, expressed in the procedure to adopt the Constitutional Act on the Rights of National Minorities, when an amendment to the text of the Final Proposal of this Act, the content of which would have allowed members of national minorities to vote twice, was not accepted.
Consistent with this linguistic, logical, synthetic, historical and, finally, teleological analysis, it is indubitable that voters have the right and duty to vote only once, which means that if they are members of a national minority, they may vote for one of the political party slates or independent candidates in one of the electoral constituencies, as can persons of the Croatian majority, or for the representatives of national minorities in a separate electoral constituency.
On this basis, it was found that there are no grounds to give an authoritative interpretation.
Representatives to the Parliament have the right of access to the electoral register during their term of office.
With Article 3 of the Act on Amendments to the Act on the Elections of Representatives to the Croatian Parliament (Official Gazette 19/15), which entered into force on 25 February 2015, paragraph 3 was added.