SDP to Endorse HNS’s Candidate for Zagreb Mayor?

Total Croatia News

The largest opposition party could support Anka Mrak Taritaš, the candidate of HNS, its junior coalition partner.

Before Davor Bernardić became SDP president, it was expected that he would be a candidate for Mayor of Zagreb at the local elections in May 2017. However, now he will have to start preparing for another battle – the next parliamentary elections and a direct duel with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. Bernardić is aware that, as the head of the largest opposition party, he should not run for mayor because his probable defeat would immediately jeopardize his position within SDP, reports on December 5, 2016.

Since there is no other likely mayoral candidate, SDP is seriously considering the possibility of endorsing HNS’s candidate Anka Mrak Taritaš, a former minister in SDP-led government. “SDP, as the strongest opposition party, must have its candidates in all major towns in Croatia. However, that does not exclude the possibility of an agreement with our coalition partners”, said a newly-elected SDP vice-president Peđa Grbin.

People who have Bernardić’s support and who at the party convention on Saturday were elected to the new leadership of the party did not want to publicly comment on the possibility. However, informal sources say that some of them would not be against the idea, if there was an agreement between SDP and HNS which would cover entire Croatia. Therefore, before SDP would decide to support Anka Mrak Taritaš, there would have to be an agreement between leaders of SDP and HNS, Davor Bernardić and Ivan Vrdoljak, that the two parties would run at the local elections together across the country, and not just in Zagreb.

Specifically, if SDP were to support Anka Mrak Taritaš in Zagreb, HNS should in turn support SDP in other towns where it currently intends to run with its own candidates against SDP’s. For example, in Rijeka, HNS would have to abandon the idea of running with Pero Lučin against SDP’s Mayor Vojko Obersnel, in Čakovec HNS would have to support Stjepan Kovač, and the two parties would have to agree on join candidates in Osijek, Split, Varaždin, and other towns.

However, some members of the SDP leadership are strongly opposed to the idea that they should support a HNS candidate in Zagreb. “I think that SDP, as a serious party, should have its candidates in all the big towns”, said a member of SDP Presidency Ivo Jelušić.

There are some who think that Anka Mrak Taritaš deliberately entered the mayoral campaign very early and tried to use a vacuum, since SDP was engaged in intra-party elections. “HNS has tried to present us with a fait accompli and almost force us to accept Anka Mrak Taritaš as our candidate”, said one member.

One thing is clear: the new party president Davor Bernardić must urgently decide whether SDP will have its own candidate in Zagreb.


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