Candidates for SDP President Seek Support among Party Members

Total Croatia News

One expected and three declared candidates are already hard at work.

Although the process of nominations for new SDP president has not yet been officially launched, candidates have already started gathering support among local party leaders. At the moment, there are three official candidates: MEP Tonino Picula, party vice-president and former Interior Minister Ranko Ostojić and head of SDP branch in Osijek-Baranja County Domagoj Hajduković. Former Justice Minister Orsat Miljenić is also expected to announce his bid, reports Večernji List on September 19, 2016.

All of them already have their representatives on the ground which are trying to gather support for their candidacies. Judging from the support from party insiders so far, in the best position are Hajduković and Miljenić.

Hajduković is supported by heads of SDP party branches in Bjelovar-Bilogora County, Virovitica-Podravina County, and the Town of Šibenik. He is also counting on the support of Damir Tomić, a member of Parliament and head of the SDP branch in Đakovo.

Orsat Miljenić, who has not yet officially announced that he would run and could well change his mind, already has the support of two members of the party Presidency, former Labour Minister Mirando Mrsić, who might bring him the votes of a large part of the Zagreb party branch, and former Transport Minister Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, who is head of the SDP branch in Krapina-Zagorje County. Ivan Klarin, SDP boss in the Šibenik-Knin County, will also support him. Miljenić reportedly has the support of some of the “elder statesmen” within the party as well.

Interestingly, MEP Tonino Picula, who just a few days ago was considered to be the favourite to succeed Zoran Milanović, for now has the support only from party Presidency member Davorko Vidović. Still, many within the party expect that he will certainly be among the first best-placed candidates in the first round of voting and will probably have the support of many party members in Zagreb and Rijeka. However, he has lost a good deal of support after he announced that, if elected, he would continue to serve as member of European Parliament and would lead the party from Brussels. Some have already started calling him “weekend party president” and he will have to explain how he could be an effective leader of the opposition from abroad. In addition, he is the only one among the four candidates who will not me an MP in the next Parliament.

Finally, Ranko Ostojić has the support of party Presidency member Peđa Grbin, who will be the chairman of his campaign. Reportedly, he is the preferred candidate of the outgoing SDP president Zoran Milanović as well, and he has received a lot of support on social networks from ordinary party members, who will have the final say about who will be the next leader of the largest opposition party.

The election for SDP president is expected to take place in late November, when all party members will have the opportunity to vote for their preferred candidate. If no candidate receives the majority of votes in the first round, the two best-placed candidates will go to the second round of voting one week later. The intraparty elections have to take place within 150 days after parliamentary elections. Current SDP president and former Prime Minister Zoran Milanović has announced he would not run.


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