Number of Candidates for SDP President Keeps Growing

Total Croatia News

SDP presidency should today officially launch the procedure for intraparty elections.

At the forthcoming elections for party president, SDP members will have several options to choose from. The bids have already been announced by two current party vice presidents, MEP Tonino Picula and former Interior Minister Ranko Ostojić. On Wednesday, Domagoj Hajduković became the third candidate. He is the president of SDP in Osijek-Baranja County and member of Parliament. Although he is the youngest of the three candidates and is only 35 years old, he is reportedly being “promoted” by some prominent party members. However, number of candidates is likely to grow further, reports Večernji List on September 15, 2016.

Another group within the party is gathering around former Minister of Labour and Pension System Mirando Mrsić and former Minister of Justice Orsat Miljenić. One of them is expected to run and the other one would support him. Within the party, both are considered to had been good ministers and could unite various factious which exist in the party. Orsat Miljenić has a slight advantage since he is a relatively fresh face, although a drawback is the fact that he became party member only in January this year.

Miljenić yesterday received support of Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, a member of party presidency and former Minister of Transport. “Miljenić has all the right attributes to run for party president and it would be a plus for SDP if he were to run. I would support a candidate who can meet the challenges of the 21st century. We should try to win over those citizens which we have lost. I will not be actively involved in the campaign, and Miljenić will have my support if he is a candidate”, said Hajdaš Dončić who has a strong party base in northern Croatia.

It is no secret that some in the current party leadership are not satisfied with Ostojić’s early announcement that he would run. They expected they would first discuss among themselves and try to find a common candidate on which everyone could agree. Ostojić is considered to be close to the outgoing SDP president Zoran Milanović, who is expected to provide him with his support.

On the other hand, Tonino Picula has already become a target of criticism. Primorje-Gorski Kotar County Prefect Zlatko Komadina, whom many expected would support Picula, said that he was surprised by Picula’s statement that, even if he wins the election, he would not resign as member of European Parliament and would try to lead the party from Brussels. “Zagreb is the capital of Croatia, and not Brussels”, said Komadina.

It is possible that Komadina will support a candidate of the party organization in Zagreb, which could also have its own candidate. Two possibilities are Davor Bernardić, president of the SDP branch in Zagreb, and former Health Minister Rajko Ostojić, who was Komadina’s campaign manager this spring when Komadina tried to replace Milanović as party president.

Another possible candidate is former party member Aleksandra Kolarić, who has been expelled from the party due to disagreements with Milanović. She has publicly demanded for the decision on her expulsion to be annulled and said that she would then run for SDP president.

SDP president is elected by all party members. If no candidate receives majority in the first round, two best candidates go to the second round of voting. SDP presidency will meet later on Thursday to officially launch the election procedure. The election have to take place within 150 days after parliamentary elections, but it is expected that it will take place much sooner. In addition to party president, members of various party bodies will also be elected.


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