SDP to Support Mrak Taritaš for Zagreb Mayor?

Total Croatia News

The largest opposition party might not have its own candidate for mayor.

Although it will not be easy for SDP’s branch in Zagreb to make a decision to support HNS’s candidate for Mayor of Zagreb Anka Mrak Taritaš at the forthcoming local elections in May, it is reportedly ready to do it. Sources from the SDP leadership say that the key party people are aware that such a decision would significantly increase chances for opposition’s win in Zagreb, reports Večernji List on February 18, 2017.

In that case, possible victory of HNS’s candidate might be presented as a victory for SDP as well, which has been out of power in Zagreb for many years, despite regularly winning most votes in the city in parliamentary elections. Strangely, SDP does not really have a politician which would be popular enough to win the elections on its own, especially after Zagreb branch president Davor Bernardić was recently elected party president.

It is expected that the two parties will try to reach an agreement by 1 March about what SDP will get in exchange for supporting Mrak Taritaš. HNS will probably have to support SDP’s candidates in Rijeka and Split. Also, it is expected that the two parties will file a joint candidate list for the Zagreb City Assembly, which means that it is necessary to determine how many positions on the list will go to SDP, and how many to their partners – HNS, HSU and possibly HSS.

“Given the fact that, according to polls, SDP is six times more popular than HNS, we think that HNS can only get every sixth place on the list and nothing more than that”, said an SDP source. Another source from the SDP leadership also said that SDP expected major concessions from HNS. “We will soon discuss the issue of Zagreb Holding and other municipal companies for which we have several good candidates. It is not acceptable that Zagreb Holding would be headed by an HNS candidate”, said the source. “They will have to suppress their political appetites and realize that they cannot get our votes, and insist only on their people”, said the source.

One of the issues in negotiations will be who should get two deputy mayor positions. HNS thinks that one should come from SDP, while the other should be a non-partisan candidate. “We need to take a much broader approach than just SDP and HNS. It has to be a broad platform, since that is the only way to achieve a good result in Zagreb”, said a source from HNS. The party admits that SDP’s support would be very important and knows that it is not an easy decision for SDP to make. They are aware that Bernardić needs time to “prepare the ground”. As for the negotiations, a source close to Mrak Taritaš hopes that they will take place in private and not through the media like they occasionally do.

The elections will take place in May and the opposition will try to finally defeat incumbent Mayor of Zagreb Milan Bandić, who has been the mayor, with a short formal break, for 17 years.

Anka Mrak Taritaš was a popular Minister of Construction in the SDP-HNS government led by Zoran Milanović, and she is currently a Member of Parliament.


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