Dismal approval ratings and bizarre social media posts could lead to a change in leadership.
It seems that the fate of SDP President Davor Bernardić will probably be decided at the party convention, which will be held on 17 or 24 February. SDP vice president Peđa Grbin demanded in September last year that the reporting convention, which was supposed to be held by the end of 2017, should vote on Bernardić’s dismissal.
Bernardić and his supporters in the party leadership successfully opposed this initiative and organised a vote at a session of the SDP Main Committee, which supported Bernardić by consensus, reports Novi List on January 24, 2018.
Someone will almost certainly ask that the agenda of the convention be supplemented by a vote of no confidence against Bernardić, which would then have to be supported by the majority of delegates. That is why the selection of delegates will be crucial. And, according to informed sources, the delegates aren’t particularly inclined to support Bernardić so far.
For example, the city, municipal and local party organisations in Zagreb have selected about three-quarters of delegates and, based on estimates; the delegates are mostly those who don’t tend to support Bernardić. This has been confirmed by several high-ranking SDP members. One of them pointed out that “Bernardić is very dissatisfied with the composition of the delegate slates for the convention.”
“In local organisations in Zagreb, Bernardić’s supporters were only concerned with who would be elected for branch presidents and did not care about convention delegates. They probably assumed that the reporting convention would not be of particular importance, so many of Bernardić’s opponents were selected as delegates,” said a member of the SDP presidency.
Of course, even if the composition of convention delegates is unfavourable for Bernardić, that still doesn’t mean that all such delegates would necessarily vote against him, but, this is a sufficient reason for Bernardić to be alarmed. Therefore, there are rumours that he, in order to avoid possible dismissal, is prepared to propose to the convention to call new direct elections for SDP president, in which he would run and try to receive a new mandate to lead the party. It’s assumed that Bernardić, after expelling a significant number of his opponents from the party, has more support among the remaining ordinary members than among delegates. Of course, even if Bernardić is dismissed by the convention, he could also run again for party president.
But, even some of SDP members who think that Bernardić should leave his post as soon as possible fear an open confrontation at the convention. “It is unrealistic to expect this event to be a demonstration of SDP’s unity. It is inconceivable that someone will not stand up and asks for a vote of no confidence against Bernardić to be included in the agenda. In that case, I would not rule out the possibility of a split into two parties. Therefore, it would be great if these things could be resolved before the convention,” said an SDP official.
There are those who hope that Bernardić could decide to resign himself, especially if party officials Zlatko Komadina and Rajko Ostojić withdraw their support. They are two of his leading advocates and were mostly responsible for his victory in the election for party president.
“That is not impossible. Komadina and Ostojić also realize that Bernardić will not be able to turn himself into a political leader that SDP needs. Bernardić has been labeled by the media as a bad politician, and that will not change whatever he does. That is why Komadina and Ostojić could abandon him and in this way try to at least partially redeem themselves for insisting that Bernardić should replace formed party president Zoran Milanović,” said one SDP official hopefully.
Translated from Novi List.