Milanović has been re-elected as party president, but the fight for other positions in the party leadership is far from over.
By winning another term as SDP president, Zoran Milanović has claimed victory in the first half of the intraparty battle. However, in just ten days, the second half will take place – elections for four party vice-presidents, members of the party presidency and the Main Committee. Milanović’s goal is for his loyal party members to have a majority in all the party bodies because that is the only way for him to have a full control over the party, reports Jutarnji List on April 6, 2016.
One of the first steps he will probably make after the convention is “settling of scores” with Zagreb and Split party branches. Even though presidents of both branches, Davor Bernardić in Zagreb and Ivo Baldasar in Split, were among the leading advocates of Milanović’s opponent Zlatko Komadina, Milanović won more votes in both of Croatia’s largest cities. However, Milanović will not make his move until after the party election convention scheduled for 16 April and until he sees the overall balance of power in the party.
After the convincing victory over Komadina, people close to Milanovic are sure that the delegates at the convention will support his candidates. According to Milanović’s associates, this time, Milanović is not just waiting for the outcome of the convention but is actively preparing for it. He does not want the repeat of what happened four years ago when many of his opponents were elected to the presidency and Main Committee.
“Milanović will certainly not allow members of the Main Committee to be divided over some of his proposals, and I am confident that the presidency will have a majority of his people as well”, said one current member of the presidency close to Milanović.
It is not sure what will happen in Zagreb where SDP has had poor electoral results for quite some time. “SDP needs to work at the operational level, and some people will certainly leave the party on their own and most like cross over to Milan Bandić’s party”, says a source. It is not certain who will be SDP’s mayoral candidate at the local elections next May. Former Labour Minister Mirando Mrsić is certainly one of those who has such ambition, but that does not mean he will automatically become a candidate. Speculations about former Justice Minister Orsat Miljenić are not based in fact.
“It is essential that Bernardić enters the party presidency because in that way we can prevent Milanović from purging the Zagreb branch”, says one of Bernardić’s associates. Both sides are sure Milanović will not do anything in Zagreb and Split until he sees the results of the convention. “When he sees who entered the presidency and the Main Committee, only then will Milanović decide what to do in those two cities”, says a source close to Milanović.
When it comes to Split, many believe that Baldasar has eliminated himself with his actions and statements, but the problem is to find another candidate who could be electable. According to sources, it should be a moderate politician. Some have mentioned former Interior Minister Ranko Ostojić, but it is thought that he is “too leftwing” for Split.