The Platform 112 network of non-governmental organisations has calculated that election promises made by the coalition led by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) would cost the state at least 6.8 billion kuna, while those made by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)-led coalition would cost 8.23 billion kuna.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Platform 112 activists warned voters that these were unrealistic promises that would not be delivered or at one point would have to be paid for by citizens themselves.
The SDP's Croatia Is Growing coalition has promised additional investments of about HRK 5.67 billion in improving the quality of life through education, in research, in increasing energy efficiency and in the civil sector,
Their promise to delimit maternity leave allowances for an additional two months would cost the government HRK 300 million annually, according to Platform 112. Additional investments in social and municipal infrastructure would increase expenditure by an additional 2 billion kuna, or 500 million annually.
On the revenues side, this coalition plans to scrap a health insurance contribution of 3%, which would reduce annual payments into the state budget by HRK 39.97 million, and cut extra taxes by HRK 300 million.
Taking this year's state budget as the basis for its calculation, Platform 112 said that the promises made by the SDP-led coalition would increase the budget deficit by HRK 6.8 billion or by more than HRK 27 billion during a four-year term.
On the other hand, the HDZ's Patriotic Coalition has vowed to increase pension allowances to 60% of the average monthly salary. Platform 112 calculated that this measure, if implemented during all four years in office, would cost the state over HRK 18 billion or 4.6 billion annually.
The HDZ's promise to pay 1,000 euros for every newborn baby would increase budget expenditure by HRK 317.2 million, and a 5% increase in maternity leave allowances would mean an additional cost of HRK 45 million.
On the expenditure side, this coalition has promised to reduce the general VAT rate from the present 25% to 23%, which would reduce revenues from this tax by HRK 3.27 billion annually. Promises made by the Patriotic Coalition would cost the government a further HRK 8.2 billion annually or nearly 33 billion for the entire four-year term.
Platform 112 noted that they had taken into account only the promises which these two coalitions specified in their election programmes, adding that they had also promised a number of other moves which could not be calculated precisely.
The calculations were presented by Velibor Mackic, who warned that such promises were contrary to Croatia's obligations under the EU's excessive deficit procedure. He said that voters should be aware that political parties were trying to curry favour with them and that at one point voters themselves would have to pay for the fulfilment of the election promises.