What role will the Croatian President play in the upcoming election campaign?
Recent statements by HDZ president Tomislav Karamarko in Sinj showed that support for Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović last summer preordained the results of the presidential elections and will be repeated at the upcoming parliamentary elections revealed the current tactics of the largest opposition party, writes Slobodna Dalmacija on August 12, 2015.
The ubiquity of president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović in recent weeks represents a leverage for HDZ to increase its voter support and to stop the recent rise of SDP.
“It is more than obvious that the president has been in a kind of continuous political campaign in favor of HDZ in the last few weeks”, said political analyst Jaroslav Pecnik. The beginning of the campaign was president’s speech in Yad Vashem in Israel, where the president said the words she should have said in Croatia. “However, she chose Israel for a clear and uncompromising critique of the Independent State of Croatia, because it was politically more profitable for her and HDZ.
“Her appearances at the military parade, in Knin and at Sinjska Alka followed, and her speeches were very political”, said Pecnik. He agrees that HDZ concluded that the emphasis on Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is the best option for the party at the moment.
“For HDZ, presidential activities like these are far more profitable than pushing its leader Tomislav Karamarko in the confrontations with the prime minister and SDP president Zoran Milanović. It is clear that Karamarko avoids the duel because it seems he would have a very tough time”, said Pecnik.
If we compare the first few months of Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović’s term in office with the last few weeks, the difference is obvious. At the start of the term she mostly stayed far from the limelight, with sporadic statements on developments in internal politics and international relations.
Her relationship with HDZ after the presidential elections was seemingly ended by official withdrawal from the party, which was a campaign promise and the continuation of tradition in Croatian politics.
A few months ago, speculations could be heard that HDZ is maybe loosing the influence on their former presidential candidate, but current developments indicate just the opposite.
“If president continues with this kind of activities, and we can see that she has now temporarily relocated her office to Split, which is pure populism without any benefits for citizens, she will squander the opportunity to build an independent political identity devoid of party influence”, said Jaroslav Pecnik. In any case, recent developments might accelerate the decision of the ruling parliamentary majority to decide on the date of the upcoming parliamentary elections.