Opposition parties are getting ready to cooperate for the next three elections coming up in 2019 and 2020.
SDP supports in principle the establishment of an opposition left-centre coalition for the next elections, although the party has still not formally discussed the proposal. However, it insists that the alliance must not be limited just to the next election, which is the one for the European Parliament in May 2019, but also for upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections as well, reports Jutarnji List on November 7, 2017.
“We will run as a coalition in all three elections, or there will be no coalition at all”, said one of SDP vice presidents, discussing the latest idea presented by former Prefect of Istria County, IDS official and current Member of European Parliament Ivan Jakovčić, who proposed the establishment of a new Kukuriku coalition for the upcoming European elections. Kukuriku coalition was a coalition of liberal and centre-left parties which won the parliamentary elections in 2011.
Jakovčić said it was necessary to form such a coalition as soon as possible, arguing that any serious agreement must be made by early next year since the informal election campaign for the European elections lasts for one year. “SDP without IDS and other partners will not be able to form a future government easily. I believe they are aware of this, as well as of the initiative to restore our alliance which was first established in 1995 when we joined forces of six parties which together defeated HDZ in 2000,” said Jakovčić.
A similar situation was repeated a decade later when in 2009 leaders of SDP, HNS and IDS met at the Kukuriku restaurant in Kastav and began negotiations about a coalition for parliamentary elections in 2011. Next year, HSU joined the group, which convincingly won the 2011 parliamentary election, with SDP president Zoran Milanović becoming the Prime Minister.
But, Milanović and Jakovčić soon started arguing, and a broad mistrust developed between the two parties. The latest Jakovčić’s initiative suggests that something is changing, but it is just a first step on a long and uncertain path. One of the problems is the unstable position of Davor Bernardić as new SDP president, who would presumably have to lead the new coalition. Nevertheless, SDP does seem interested in the idea.
“Jakovčić’s primary interest is to be re-elected to the European Parliament, which will not be possible without SDP’s support since Croatia is just one constituency in the European elections and IDS is a regional party. We have nothing against the proposal, but SDP is interested only in the possibility of strategic cooperation, including the joint selection of the presidential candidate, and later having joint candidate lists for parliamentary elections. If IDS thinks similarly, there is room for a serious conversation,” said an SDP source.
Among the first who welcomed the idea of a new alliance is HSS president Krešo Beljak, who said that the opposition should act together, adding that the history showed in 2000 and 2011 that joint opposition can win. SDP and HSS signed an agreement earlier this year on cooperation at the next parliamentary elections.
HNS, a long-time liberal coalition partner of SDP, earlier this year switched sides and decided to enter the right centre government led by HDZ. The party split, with five MPs following the new party line and four MPs founding their own party, GLAS, led by popular Member of Parliament Anka Mrak-Taritaš, a former minister in the SDP-led government.
“At this stage, we are focused on the establishment of party branches and the drafting of party programme, but when our party is consolidated, we will also be open for coalition talks. There are 19 months to go before the elections for the European Parliament, but that will pass rather quickly,” said GLAS.
Translated from Jutarnji List.