The number of potential opponents to Plenković at intraparty elections is getting close to zero.
Darko Milinović, a member of HDZ presidency and one of the potential candidates for new HDZ president, held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon and announced that he would not run for the party president. Earlier in the day, party vice-president and MEP Ivana Maletić also said she would not run, report Index.hr and HRT on June 29, 2016.
At the press conference, Milinović told reporters that he talked with Andrej Plenković and determined that there were no major differences between them. “I have just received news that I have collected over 5,000 signatures of support for my candidacy. However, I have recently conducted a series of meetings and today I met the Plenković. We talked about the future and the vision for HDZ and Croatia. We realized that there are no real differences and that we share an almost identical vision of HDZ and Croatia. We believe that these small differences should not be a reason for an exhaustive intra-party battle”, said Milinović, adding that the most important thing was to prevent the return to power of government led by SDP president and former Prime Minister Zoran Milanović, which he called the least capable government in Croatia’s history.
“We have to make available to HDZ all of our individual potential. The goal is to win the parliamentary elections. Andrej must tomorrow take the initiative to talk with new coalition partners”, Milinović said, adding that he did not think there would be any other candidate. “There is not enough time for us to exhaust each other”, said Milinović, calling on members to put themselves at the disposal of the party.
“HDZ should be a strong center-right party that has a European flair, is free of radicalism, and is a political party of a large part of the population”, said Milinović asked what common vision did he and Plenković share.
Earlier in the day, party vice-president and MEP Ivana Maletić also said she would not run for party president. She added that it was not important whether Andrej Plenković would have an opponent at the elections for party president. She is convinced that he can offer important new ideas.
The candidates have until next Wednesday to submit at least 5,000 signatures of support if they want to run for party president. So far, only MEP Andrej Plenković has announced his candidacy, while the majority of his potential opponents have declared they would not run. Among the remaining potential candidates is Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegović, who is very popular with the right-wing section of the party. He has not yet declared whether he would run.
If Plenković remains the only candidate, that will be the second time in just a few months that HDZ elects its president with just one candidate. In April, Tomislav Karamarko was elected for a new term as president, but he has since had to resign. The elections for HDZ president are conducted by the vote of all party members, according to the “one member one vote” principle. Although this was supposed to increase the level of democracy within the party, the fact that presidential candidates do not have opponents obviously brings into question the point of having elections in the first place.