SDP Heating Up: Rebellion against Bernardić over Election Fiasco

Total Croatia News

“The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) is the winner and the Socialist Democratic Party (SDP) the loser of the elections. The main culprits are party President Davor Bernardić and the new leadership which has no vision, no policies and no strategy”

“It is not so much of a problem that we lost a district chief or a mayor somewhere, but that voters are not supporting SDP lists,” said an SDP member and added he will not be silent for long and merely stand by and watch, as he described: “Bernardić, General Secretary Zvane Brumnić and his friends dissolve SDP,” as Jutarnji List reported on May 24, 2017.

There are many dissatisfied SDP members, mainly concentrated in the MP Club, announcing that they will speak publicly, but only after the local elections are over. Mirando Mrsić, former Labour Minister, did not wait for the second round to end. He posted on Facebook on Tuesday and accused the SDP leadership of failure in the elections.

He substantiated his claim with the fact that at the last parliamentary elections, the SDP-led coalition won 142.763 votes and that same coalition on Sunday they won only 67.189 votes. “Every comment is superfluous. We need change – urgently! The leadership announced plenty in terms of consolidating the party, from Statute changes to dealing with members. Nothing was done. And these results are a consequence of inaction and misunderstanding of members and citizens. The honeymoon is over – results are needed from the leadership,” stated Mrsić.

Some members agreed with Željko Jovanović who asked for patience until the second round of elections was over and resented Mrsić for speaking out sooner, while some are very angry with Bernardić. Many are also disgruntled within Bernardić’s own native organisation, the Zagreb SDP. In Sunday’s elections they won 8 assembly seats, down from the previous 12. A large decrease was also seen in area assemblies. The Zagreb SDP cites several causes of this. “We did not communicate our policies, we lost character, we have no leadership and our methods are from the 1990s. We need to regain character, be brave, clear and direct, not fumble under the table but clearly and publicly communicate and apply modern methods of political activity,” stated an SDP member, concluding that with those three components SDP “can be strong in Zagreb.” But he adds a so-called “small condition” – for some to stop ”taking their pictures with cabbage” or be replaced, referring to Bernardić. Dominik Etlinger, chief secretary of Zagreb SDP, tweeted that the priority is the second round. “Then we will analyse the results and suggest specific changes. Everything else is just aiding Bandić,” he warned.

But things have been heated in SDP for some time and local elections are not the only reason. As an older SDP member told us, Bernardić’s opponent in the MP Club, the first serious confrontation with party leadership came over MOST. “Bernardić and his supporters discussed a strategy with MOST to dissolve the Parliament. They even took part in writing the initiative for dissolution and an attempt to save Božo Petrov from the humiliation of recall,” he said, belonging to a group of SDP members who feel early parliamentary elections are fatal to SDP as they are not ready for them organisationally, financially, or with defined policies to offer citizens. They claim they are not against the elections just because they know their names would not be on lists again, they also consider the ideas of SDP members potentially ”saving” the government of Andrej Plenković to be malicious lies.

Portions of SDP are afraid of collaborating with MOST, considering the idea to be fatal for SDP, also considering they should not have guaranteed the Croatian Peasant Party six positions on Parliament lists. “It was too much when Milanović gave them five positions, but this is crazy,” said a member of the SDP Presidency and confirmed that, although dissatisfaction in SDP is high, no one will initiate statutory mechanisms and try to recall Bernardić.


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