HDZ had its convention on Saturday. It was aired live on some local TV stations affiliated to that party. This was opportunity for Sanader to put a brave face and try to convince his party and the rest of Croatian public that he is going to win next election, become prime minister and that the any resistance from Račan (Racan), Mesić (Mesic) and his parties is futile.
However, the convention had some signs that things aren't that good within HDZ and that the good old days when Tudjman's party could expect clear majority in Sabor definitely belong to past. First of all, Sanader's attempt to make "kinder, gentler and pro-European" HDZ are hard to take seriously since Doris Pack, MEP and one of chief Tudjman's lobbyists in European institutions, was booed by HDZ delegates who didn't like her views on Hague Tribunal. Even the boss himself contradicted his own party youth chief on the issue.
But the more interesting thing about HDZ is the changes within party's internal regulations. Namely, individuals can be thrown out of party for "harming political interests or the reputation of HDZ". Furthermore, Presidency of HDZ (dominated by Sanader) got extra clout over Central Committee (which still had some anti-Sanaderites) by getting authority to create party candidates' lists for upcoming elections. In other words, it would be Sanader who would decide who goes on the list, and later, in Sabor.
And, by the way things are going, Sabor seats are going to be everything HDZ is going to get. The most they could expect is to become biggest party in Sabor. But their partners from the right are going to fail by not breaking 5 % vote ceilings and thus depriving HDZ of coalition partner. Sanader's most desirable coalition partner, HSS, seems to be loyal to Račan. Its leader Zlatko Tomčić (Zlatko Tomcic), citing some insult to HSS representatives in Sabor, forbade his people to attend HDZ convention as guests of honour.