Veterans’ Protests Have Brought More Good to SDP Than to HDZ

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Who are the political winners from the Croatian veterans protest?

For months, it has already been clear that the veterans’ protest at 66 Savska Street has been going on for far too long (10 months), which is the reason why it has been getting less and less media attention. It has been obvious that the protest has increasingly began to favour the left parties and harm the ones on the political right – although there were constant accusations that HDZ is the creator and political patron of the protests. Also, the public from the very beginning had a hard time understanding why the protest is being organized in the first place, reports Vecernji List on August 21, 2015.

Therefore, it is not surprising that the leaders of the protest – Josip Klemm and Đuro Glogoški – have announced the possibility that they will stop the protest and remove the tent from the Savska Street when the date of the parliamentary elections is officially announced. Although Klemm and Glogoški say that veterans do not want to be a part of the election campaign and that they would therefore remove the tent, it is difficult to avoid the impression that there are many other motives for their decision.

Political analyst Žarko Puhovski was the first who said that the tent is good for SDP, although that was certainly not the intention of the veterans who initiated the protest. He explains that each event which shows the existence of radical right motivates voters to turn to the left. Puhovski adds that the veterans have now come to the same conclusion. “The tent at Savska saved SDP from the hole in which it fell, and demonstrated the ceiling of HDZ”, said Puhovski.

On the other hand, Josip Klemm said that the tent has become a symbol and has stopped many “invisible” things. “The government has abandoned many of its plans because we launched the protest. Veterans have never had more attention than after we have built our tent”, said Klemm. The veterans have prevented the law on veterans from being adopted and have delayed the changes to the law on pension insurance which would split veterans’ pensions into two parts.

Klemm believes that the protest did not in any way assist prime minister Milanović, and that such impression is just a result of the public relations machinery of the ruling coalition which interprets it that way.

During the protest, the most “damage” was suffered by minister of veterans’ affairs Predrag Matić, who has repeatedly publicly said that he never again wants to be a minister. Matić said that veterans had no reason to protest and that they had now apparently received orders from their bosses to withdraw because they are not achieving the goals which they had when they came before the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs in the Savska Street. “I do not want to waste my time on them. I will be a little sorry if they go, and I’d love them to stay”, said Matić.


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