Candidates for SDP President at Odds Over Debate

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Will Milanović and Komadina debate on TV or in front of party members?

Will there be a television debate between the two candidates who are running to be elected as president of SDP, Zoran Milanović and Zlatko Komadina, is a question which should get its answer later today, after a meeting between their two campaign managers, reports Večernji List on March 23, 2016.

However, it is clear that chances are extremely small. The team of Zlatko Komadina continues to insist on a debate in front of party members while Milanović wants only a TV debate. SDP has received offers for the debate from six TV stations and one newspaper: Jabuka TV, N1, Nova TV, HRT, Kanal Ri, Dubrovačka Televizija, and Jutarnji List.

“Elections in the largest opposition party are an issue of the utmost interest to the public, and TV debates between the candidates are the highest expression of democratic political culture. SDP is here for citizens as well. We owe it to the public to present ourselves as a good alternative to our political opponents to whom we should send a message that, regardless of the current intra-party debates, there is no disintegration of SDP. We are a strong party that really should be an example of openness, transparency and clarity in expressing views and exchanging opinions”, Milanović wrote on Facebook and once again called Komadina to join him for a debate on one of the television stations.

Komadina’s campaign responded that they were not running away from the debate in front of TV cameras, but they still insisted that it must happen in front of SDP members, who would take part in the debate themselves.

“This is something that we owe to our membership, that we owe to democracy. And the key question is whether someone is afraid of SDP members when they refuse such proposal”, said Rajko Ostojić, Komadina’s campaign manager.

He added that at today’s meeting they would open other issues which also needs to be resolved, such as the announcement of the results of internal party elections. Komadina’s team wants to organize a joint event on 2 April with the announcement of results at the party’s headquarters in Zagreb. Komadina also wants for him and Milanović to publish a joint statement in which they would together condemn the harsh rhetoric which could be heard during the campaign and to hold a meeting of the party Presidency in order to demonstrate unity.


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