Saturday, February 08, 2003

Lines in the Sand

It is rather interesting to see the major Croatian parties' attitudes towards the war in Iraq – conflict which Croatia became part of after government's announcements (and against the popular opinion).

Based on the Slobodna Dalmacija inquiry, the pro-war and anti-war blocks consists of:


SDP – former Communist, led by Račan (Racan); Foreign Ministry, which issued pro-Bush statements, is controlled by SDP's minister Tonino Picula;
HDZ – Tudjman's party; widely expected to return to power after next elections; its leader Ivo Sanader has came out as pro-American even before SDP;
LIBRA – party whose sole purpose was to allow former HSLS cadre to remain within Račan's government after their comrades had parted ways last summer; totally insignificant
Hrvatski Blok – right-wing party created from HDZ faction led by Tudjman's domestic policy advisor Ivić Pašalić (Ivic Pasalic); supports American position without question


DC – small (and insignificant) right-wing party, created around Tudjman's foreign minister Mate Granić (Mate Granic) and HDZ cadre who suddenly found Christian Democrat and reformer identity after losing both 2000 elections and post-election factional struggles within HDZ; claim that Croatia must join war, but only under UN sanction;
HSLS – generally support for war, but only after comprehensive debate in Sabor
HSS – no comment on the issue


HSP – far right party which used to have its own black-shirted militia in the early years of war; vehemently opposes war on the grounds that it would turn Croatia into legitimate target for Islamic terrorism while not bringing any benefit in return; they have opposed sending 50 Croatian soldiers to Afghanistan on the same grounds
IDS – Istrian regionalist party, moderately left-wing; left Račan's coalition in 2001; questions American motives

So, it is interesting to see that the support of war is greatest among the most established parties that belong to "centre" (although ideological branding doesn't make sense in Croatia – SDP, despite their Communist past, promote extremely right-wing economic policies, while HDZ remained faithful to Tudjman's extreme right-wing rhetoric). The more distant party is from "centre" or mainstream, either by ideology, size or location, the more it is anti-war.


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