Friday, September 19, 2003

Not the First Time

Miroslav Buličić (Miroslav Bulicic), new mayor of Split, has ended months of speculation and formally joined Libra.

Party transfers of mayors are nothing new to Split. In August 1995, after a ride on famous Freedom Train with President Tudjman (the very first train ride between Zagreb and Split through liberated areas of former "Krajina"), Split mayor Nikola Grabić (Nikola Grabic) has joined HDZ. Grabić was member of HSLS and became mayor in 1993 after HSLS, together with few other parties, had managed to defeat HDZ on local elections. On the very same Freedom Train ride Tudjman arranged party transfers of four non-HDZ City councilmen and thus assured that Grabić could keep his job despite defection. Grabić's transfer nevertheless shocked many, especially his mentor Velimir Terzić (Velimir Terzic), Communist-era dissident and one of the most respected politicians in Split. During 1993 post-elections negotiations Terzić was the most enthusiastic lobbist for Grabić to become mayor. Soon after that treachery Terzić died of heart-attack and his family banned Grabić from attending the funeral.

This time Split wasn't particularly shocked. Buličić, who had been elected to City Council on HSLS ticket, was actually quite loyal party member for Croatian standards. Buličić decided to quit his party only after Dražen Budiša's (Drazen Budisa's) decision to discard the local deal with SDP and thus deprive Buličić of promised mayoral position (which he was supposed to hold in second part of the term). But before becoming new mayor, Buličić had to endure intense negotiations and horse-trading between SDP, SDP partner parties and few individual City councilmen who offered their assistance (and defection) in order to provide SDP with new coalition.

So, Buličić's transfer to Libra and his rise to the post of mayor was rather anti-climactic. I seriously doubt that most citizens of Split are actually aware who their mayor is and to what party he belongs.


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