The party leadership seems intent to lose the few remaining supporters.
SDP will not vote for the Istanbul Convention if the ruling coalition adds to it any formulation or statements. The Convention only allows for a few possible reservations, and the attached statement, as conceived by the ruling parties, cannot have a legal effect and hence it is meaningless and has the sole purpose of calming down internal resistance and strife within the HDZ. We have no reason to calm down HDZ members and supporters since the discomfort they feel about the Istanbul Convention is both unreasonable and meaningless. This is an official position of the SDP leadership on the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, reports Večernji List on March 21, 2018.
However, it seems that such a position might cause more headache for SDP leader Davor Bernardić than for Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. According to unofficial sources, at least ten SDP’s members of parliament are ready to support the ratification even if it comes accompanied by an interpretative statement.
Several parliamentarians have already announced they would not respect the party’s official position. Among the first was Sabina Glasovac, who openly stated on her Facebook profile that she would support the Istanbul Convention. “There is no-one who could force me to vote against stronger prevention and protection of women from violence. Human rights cannot be an issue for politicking,” wrote Glasovac.
SDP MP Mirando Mrsić also said he would certainly vote for the ratification regardless of the party statement. He invited all party’s MPs to do the same. “The entire SDP should support the Istanbul Convention, regardless of any statements and reservations that serve to calm down the situation within HDZ. SDP should not take part in the internal conflicts within HDZ,” said Mrsić.
However, SDP leadership sees things differently. They say that the prime minister has complicated the whole issue. “Plenković is now in a position that he can no longer change his mind. If he drops the ratification initiative, he is politically dead. He simply has to proceed despite the fact that five to ten HDZ MPs will vote against the government. And why would SDP in this situation vote for ratification accompanied by a confused statement? We know what gender is, there is no reason for statements to explain it. Let Plenković get himself out of this situation,” said SDP president Davor Bernardić’s close associate. He added that he hoped that Plenković and HDZ would not be saved by one of the former ministers from SDP’s government.
However, it seems likely that there will be many more MPs than a single former minister who will disobey the party leadership on this issue. Interestingly, this position of the party has split the membership as well, as evidenced by their social media posts.
The SDP leadership has once again proven its impressive capacity to turn a potentially favourable situation (public split in usually monolithic HDZ) into a public relations disaster (media again reporting on conflicts within SDP).
Translated from Večernji List (reported by Petra Maretić Žonja).