After several elections with HDZ, HSS decides to cross over to SDP.
After nearly four hours of debate, 105 members of the HSS Main Committee made a decision late on Thursday evening to go to the polls as part of a coalition led by SDP. The decision was supported by 87 members of the Main Committee, 13 were against, while 5 abstained. According to unofficial sources, SDP offered to HSS the posts of Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister, as well as five secure seats in Parliament, reports Večernji List on July 8, 2016.
“We have made an important decision, a fateful for Croatia and HSS, since situation cannot continue like it has been in the last 25 years. We will not be an easy coalition partner, and we will fight for programmes that will contribute to the development of Croatia. In this decision, we have been led by our minds, and not by our hearts, because our hearts are telling us that we should go to the polls alone, but reality suggest that we are still not strong enough for it”, said HSS president Krešo Beljak.
He added that the party would continue to fight for traditional values, protection of villages and agriculture, and a better future for Croatia. “This is an important decision, and I think that it was better to make it now, rather than later, after the elections”, said Beljak. He was the main advocate of such a decision, presenting is as a new possibility for HSS that should turn a new page. He asked his party colleagues to trust his judgement.
During the debate, HSS members agreed that the party was in worse shape than ever, and that their decision about which coalition to enter was crucial for the future of the party and Croatia. One of the loudest proponents of cooperation with SDP was Stipe Gabrić Jambo, HSS leader in Metković. “HDZ lies and cheats. When they need you, they call you all the time, but when you need them, they do not return your calls. I will not go with HDZ”, said Gabrić, who was joined by many other members from local levels who said that they were also cheated by HDZ. MEP Marijana Petir was one of those who advocated continued cooperation with HDZ, and she was joined by some other members from northern Croatia.
“I do not think that the party will split and that those who are against cooperation with SDP will leave. Everyone said what they thought. HSS remains united”, said Beljak. “I am aware that this is a major shift for HSS”, added Beljak.
HSS was already part of a coalition with SDP from 2000 to 2003, when then SDP leader Ivica Račan was Prime Minister. At the time, then HSS president Zlatko Tomčić was Speaker of Parliament.