Saturday, September 27, 2003

[ELECTIONS 2003] End of Journey

Zdravko Tomac transformed from staunch supporter of Yugoslav federal unity in 1989 into born-again Croatian nationalist in 1991. There were tens of thousands of people like him in Croatia at the time, but few held such important positions as Tomac, Communist League of Croatia chief ideologist. Even fewer chose to go through such radical transformation while remaining in the same party.

For Tomac this transformation proved to be beneficial, because in 1991 he held a ministerial post in war-time National Unity cabinet where he excelled in his criticism of free media and savage attacks on human rights organisations "telling lies about Croatia"; because of that Tomac briefly enjoyed reputation of a ex-Communist being more right-wing than many members of Tudjman's party. However, Tomac soon returned to opposition, but he still held #2 post in his old/new Party, giving nationalist credentials to Račan (Racan), former Yugoslav apparatchik who would otherwise perish during the dark days of 1991-92. For his services, Tomac was rewarded in 1997 with nomination for Croatian president; savage HDZ attacks during campaign only brought him votes from opposition-minded electorate and thus helped SDP to establish itself as the leading opposition party three years before next parliamentary elections.

2000 – biggest triumph of Tomac's party – was beginning of the end for Tomac. When Budiša (Budisa) lost to Stipe Mesić (Stipe Mesic) at the presidential elections, Tomac lost with him, being Budiša's electoral campaign chief manager. After that Tomac got marginalised by Račan, who now didn't need increasingly annoying and over-ambitious partner. Tomac finally became aware of that only after seeing his sister being replaced from important SDP function and him not being able to do anything about it. Tomac tried to depose Račan by allying himself with Račan's chief rival and Milan Bandić (Milan Bandic), powerful leader of SDP Zagreb organisation. Those efforts failed and Tomac today announced his departure from SDP. He announced that he would take part in next elections on the ticket of relatively obscure party called Forum Hrvatske Sloge (Croatian Unity Forum).

Račan commented departure of his former chief ally by saying "Tomac was departing SDP for a long time. His journey has come to an end."

How fitting.


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