ZAGREB, April 30, 2018 – Despite polls indicating that the Social Democratic Party’s (SDP) rating is falling while that of Živi Zid is growing and is within 4% of the SDP, the party’s leader Davor Bernardić said on Monday that the SDP is growing and strengthening whereas the Živi Zid is a protest party that doesn’t have a stance on important matters such as anti-fascism, violence against women, relations with the Church, religious instruction in schools, abortion or the LGBT community.
“Živi Zid emerged as a protest party. We heard various messages from its convention yesterday, for example, party president Sinčić said that they will not enter a coalition with the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), yet he presented a potential minister for demography, Stjepan Šterc, who is a member of HDZ. We didn’t, however, hear their stance on anti-fascism, the fight against violence against women or the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. We didn’t hear their stance on reviewing the Vatican agreements, on relations with the Church, or their stance on religious instruction, abortion,” Bernardić said in an interview with Croatian Radio.
“We don’t know about their stance on those who differ in religion or ethnicity, and even less about their thoughts about the LGBT community,” he said and added: “People have to know your views if you intend to be in politics.”
In regard to announcements by Živi Zid, including one about Croatia’s exit from the European Union, Bernardić said that that would lead to huge inflation, people would not get their wages, pensions or savings. “An announcement of Croatia’s EU exit would only accelerate emigration,” Bernardić claimed.
He said that the SDP supports an initiative by the GLAS party to review the agreements between the Holy See and Croatia. “The SDP advocates a review of the Vatican agreements for the obvious reason of rational spending of taxpayers’ money… With a little rationalisation of spending, we in Croatia could ensure that every child in Croatia has free textbooks,” he said. “I personally don’t support religious instruction being taught in school and believe that it belongs in the Church,” he said.
Commenting on a civil initiative to call a referendum on changing the election system, Bernardić described that as an attempt to strengthen the right and to abolish the constitutionally guaranteed rights of national minorities.
He criticised the government’s attitude towards anti-fascism saying that the government “is turning its head away from anti-fascism and is ashamed of it.” He said that a single commemoration of the victims of the WWII Jasenovac Ustasha concentration camp will occur only when SDP comes to power.
Speaking of the commemoration in Bleiburg, Bernardić said that even in Austria the media refers to that event as the biggest neo-Nazi gathering in Europe. “For years now, Bleiburg has been a platform to promote failed, backward and fascist ideologies, and Austrian authorities have finally realised this. It’s sad that the calamity of individuals is used to glorify the Ustasha movement, that is, fascism. Parliament shouldn’t sponsor that event,” Bernardić said and added that attempts to revive failed ideologies should not be allowed.