SDP Leadership Battle Begins in Earnest

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SDP leadership campaign enters a key phase

Presidential elections in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) have entered a key phase, as current president Zoran Milanović yesterday began a four-day campaign swing through Zagreb. Milanović’s goal is obvious since SDP in Zagreb has 6,000 members who are led by Davor Bernardić, one of the closest allies of Milanović’s main opponent Zlatko Komadina. That is the reason why this week is very important for Milanović, who will hold as many as four campaign events in city districts of Gajnice, Dubrava, Novi Zagreb and Centre, reports Jutarnji List on February 23, 2016.

In the last ten days, the SDP president focused on the two other largest party organizations, in Split-Dalmatia County with 4,000 members and in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County with 3,500 members.

Before the start of the campaigning in Zagreb, Milanović’s associates were optimistic. “Zoran’s rallies attract many more members than Komadina’s. I think Milanović can win the majority of votes in Zagreb although Bernardić and Rajko Ostojić are lobbying in favour of Komadina”, said a member of Milanović’s group.

Latest estimates show that between 20,000 and 22,000 members will vote in the elections on April 2, 2016, which is approximately 60 percent of all party members The party establishment mainly supports Milanović, but Komadina also has his supporters, including the latest one, Mladen Novak, the head of the Međimurje branch. “I think that Zlatko Komadina is a better solution for the party and during the next month I will try to persuade local party members to support him”, said Novak.

Although Milanović and Komadina have avoided mutual attacks in the last ten days, latest events suggest that the campaign will get harsher. Komadina decided to be the first to attack and said in a recent interview that former SDP government was guilty of not implementing the decentralization project. He also very explicitly said that Milanović was the culprit for the end of the coalition between SDP and IDS.

However, Milanović’s allies have not remained silent. They took advantage of Komadina’s mistake when he used a photo from an earlier Bernardić’s event to presented as his own. His opponents were quick to react and point out on social networks that the photo showed an event for Davor Bernardić from the time when he ran for president of the Zagreb branch. They added that Komadina had to use Bernardić’s photo because “he has not done anything during the last year, so he has no photos of his own to use”.


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