Monday, January 20, 2003

Globalisation of Ideologies

In Jonathan Edelstein's blog I read about Likud poll showing that the left-wing Labour Party (Avoda) is going to finish third in the next elections, thus making the centre Shinui party the second largest force in Israeli politics (after Likud).

Chances are that the same thing might happen in Croatia during the upcoming elections. Nominally left-wing Social Democratic Party (ex-Communists) of Prime Minister Ivica Račan (Ivica Racan) is much stronger than any other of their coalition partners in (nominally) left-centre government, but the erosion of that party's popularity is still unmatched (except, perhaps, in the case of their former coalition partner HSLS, now belonging to right-wing opposition). The only party that seems to gain ground is HNS (Croatian Peoples' Party), small and nominally centre-oriented party that owes its Sabor seats to coalition with other small and centre-oriented parties. HNS is still a minor player, but thanks to the fact that current Croatian President Stipe Mesić (Stipe Mesic) used to be their member and its leadership's uncompromising stance on de-Tudjmanisation, that party became favourite choice of all those who are disappointed with Račan and scared of neo-Tudjmanist opposition in the same time. Those tendencies first became apparent during local elections in Zagreb when HNS got some 16 % of votes, becoming one of four parties to enter City Assembly (and nearly toppling SDP that had got some 19 %).

Some of those tendencies are even more apparent now. There are reports of couple of SDP local councilmen defecting to HNS. This is hardly surprising, since few people would like to be associated with sinking ship (same thing happened with SDP in 1990, and later with HDZ in 2000), but the most interesting thing is that defectors chose HNS. And their explanation is even more interesting. For them, SDP became "too right-wing" and HNS seems to be the party that fits their leftist sentiments.

This is probably one of the greatest ironies of Croatian politics in past decade or so. SDP, inheritor of former Communists, became right-wing party, while HNS, which had been founded by moderate nationalists in 1990 and tried to appeal to businessmen and intellectual elites, became left-wing. I believe the same thing happened with Labour and Liberal-Democrats in UK. Ideological trends in the world seem to be globalised.


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