Wednesday, November 19, 2003

[ELECTIONS 2003] (Not) Outing Sanader

Few days ago Slobodna Dalmacija published an article about the war being waged on Croatian billboards or, to be more precise, different ideologies resulting in different treatment of political rivals' posters. In short, Croatian right-wingers have less scruples when it comes to abusing other people's posters. Left-wing or "left-wing" parties are most usual targets – HNS posters featuring CGI-beautified face of Vesna Pusić (Vesna Pusic) are being hit with graffiti that use words like "bitch", "whore", "c**t" or "rattlesnake"; SDP posters are "decorated" with phrases like "commies", "Serbs", "Chetniks" and "traitors".

Posters of right-wing parties, on the other hand, are left untouched… With exception of those featuring HDZ leader Ivo Sanader. In some cases, his face is decorated with graffiti that use words like "f***t", "n***y boy" and other Croatian expressions of homophobia.

As regular readers of this blog know, rumours about Ivo Sanader's sexual orientation aren't particularly new – they appeared long time, when Sanader used to be up-and-coming Young Turk of the Tudjman's party's right-wing faction. Later those rumours were being used by his arch-nemesis Ivić Pašalić (Ivic Pasalic) in the bitter factional struggle for control over HDZ.

Interestingly enough, SDP failed to use this opportunity, and homophobes who are "decorating" Sanader posters most probably belong to those on the farer right of Croatian politics – Pašalić's HB-HIP coalition and HSP. Those two parties are fighting for the same electorate with HDZ, and the battle is more bitter and with less gloves.

SDP, on the other hand, wants to keep this campaign as mild as possible and not demonise HDZ, because Sanader might very easily become Račan's (Racan's) coalition partner – that would be the simplest possible way to solve the post-election deadlock and would benefit both parties and their European ideological sponsors. Another reason why SDP doesn't use this weapon is desperate need to keep at least some tiny bit of ideological difference from Croatian right-wing – and that need reflected in aggressive (and counterproductive) attempts to push gay rights agenda. Adopting pro-gay policy and than attack main political opponent on the basis of his sexual orientation would have been too much of a hypocrisy even for ethical cesspool of Croatian politics.

Of course, rumours might be wrong (Sanader has wife and children), but truth never stands in the way of electoral campaigns, not even so spiritless and insignificant as this one.


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