Sunday, October 26, 2003

[ELECTIONS 2003] Thinking the Unthinkable – Croatia Back Under Tudjmanist Yoke

Unlike Račan (Racan), Feral Tribune has always taken possibility of HDZ returning to power seriously, and today they are expecting that outcome with combination of fear and hope. They fear that they might get same rough treatment they got under Tudjman – secret police surveillance, pornography taxes, threats etc. In the same time they hope that they would regain sense of purpose they lost with Tudjman's death and new government which (at least nominally) shared their ideological leanings.

Last issue of Feral Tribune has made mini-survey of Croatian sociologists, NGO activists and political scholars, all asking them a single question – what awaits Croatia if HDZ returns to power?

Most of the people surveyed answered that the things are either going to stay the same or get somewhat worse.

I don't agree with them. They show the very same snobbish blindness that led many German intellectuals to view Hitler's cabinet as "just another right-wing government". HDZ might have different image under "modern European right-winger" Sanader, but its Tudjmanist ideology is unchanged, and rank-and-file od HDZ is still full of people who took "modern European" ideas about democracy, tolerance, human rights etc. with same levels of sincerity as those who had pursued policy of ethnic cleansing, state-controled media etc.

The only good thing about today's HDZ is its relative weakness in comparison with Tudjman's – they would have to share power with other right-wing parties and Sanader has looser grip over regional bosses than Tudjman had. Just like Račan's (Racan's), HDZ government is going to be more preoccupied with its own factional struggles than pursuit of any coherent policy.


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