Saturday, October 23, 2004

Yale Professor Loses Party Leadership

Dr. Ivo Banac, professor at Yale, was one of the most respected historians and experts for all things related to former Yugoslavia. He gained additional respect as political commentator and columnist for Feral Tribune.

His star began to fade when he, against advice of many, decided to take active part in politics, first by becoming chairman of small centre-left party LS, than by becoming minister for housing and environmental issues in Račan's (Racan's) coalition government. He remained there only for few months, being forced to abandon that post after HDZ victory in November 2003 elections.

Banac didn't leave much impression as a minister and his chairmanship of LS – small and insignificant party with 1 % support in all relevant opinion polls (their representatives gained seats in Sabor by appearing on SDP ticket) – was even worse. Already small party was affected by a feud between Banac and party secretary, General Karlo Gorinšek (Karlo Gorinsek).

On today's party convention, Banac's story came to an end. With 231 votes to 89 he was defeated by Zlatko Benašić (Zlatko Benasic), leader of LS chapter in Osijek, and thus had to relinquish party leadership.

Benašić has announced that he would continue with the process of fusing LS with Libra and HNS – two other centre parties of Croatia – and creation of new and more powerful party that would represent alternative to SDP and HDZ.


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