After winning a new term as party president, Milanović is turning his attention to those who did not support him.
At its meeting in Crikvenica on Saturday, SDP Presidency decided to disband the bodies of the party organization in Split. Darko Parić has been appointed as temporary commissioner and the Presidency has proposed to the Main Committee to disband the entire party branch, report Jutarnji List and Novi List on May 8, 2016.
The only member of the Presidency who voted against the decision was president of the Zagreb party branch Davor Bernardić.
“The party in Split has had problems for a long time and there are a lot of reasons for this decision. The specific reason is that Split is important for SDP, especially given the local elections which will be held next spring”, said one leading SDP member.
Informal sources from the party claim that the last straw was the recent decision by Ivo Baldasar, the Mayor of Split and the president of the Split branch, to on his own determine who would be SDP’s candidate for mayor at the next elections. Baldasar sent a text message to party members informing them that they could express their intention to be a mayoral candidate by 8 May. The party leadership did not know anything about this initiative.
During the recent elections for the party president, Baldasar strongly supported Zlatko Komadina, Milanović’s opponent. However, even among SDP members in Split, Milanović managed to receive more votes than Komadina.
The party Presidency’s decision surprised members of the Split branch. Deputy Mayor of Split Aida Batarelo heard the news from the press and was stunned. She said she had “no idea” about any such decision. “I have no information other than what you have just told me”, said Batarelo to reporters. “I do not know what is going on”, added the Deputy Mayor.
Baldasar himself refused to comment, saying there would be time during the week to express his opinion.
While the party leadership was meeting in Crikvenica, Zlatko Komadina gathered about a hundred of his associates in Gorski Kotar to thank them for supporting him in the campaign for the election of party president. Many of them were shocked with the news about Split and reportedly began to consider possible moves: one is the establishment of an official party fraction, the second is to leave the party and form a new SDP, while the third is to become passive members and wait for the defeat of the other side,
Zlatko Komadina was unavailable to give a comment last night.