Friday, January 07, 2005

[ELECTION 2005] HDZ Goes For Gold

HDZ leadership had good reasons to see Kosor's entry into second round as a great success of the party. However, this isn't enough. With momentum on Kosor's side, nothing short of a victory, or at least a close contest, would justify great financial resources and political capital invested in the campaign.

Kosor and HDZ have a long road to travel if they want to pull that through. Stipe Mesić (Stipe Mesic) has won almost 2,5 times more votes than Kosor. HDZ candidate would have to pick overwhelming majority of Mikšić (Miksic) voters and hope that disheartened Mesić's voters sit the second round out. Both things, at least at this stage, are unlikely to happen. Most of those who voted for Mesić in the first round will turn out at the polls. Most of Mikšić voters are protest voters angry at HDZ over "stealing" the election at the expense of their favourite candidate.

That doesn't mean that HDZ won't try to make another upset. Novi List reports about HDZ issuing new instructions to its local branches – each polling station is going to be covered with party observers. One of those observers' presumed duties will be to see whether party members and their families will show up at the polls.

Another, more interesting part of HDZ pre-election tactics is the idea floated in today's Jutarnji list. According to "well-informed sources within HDZ", Croatia's ruling party is "sickened" over having to rely on second-tier parties like HSLS or "spoiled ethnic minority parties". Many within HDZ feel humiliated over SDSS – ethnic Serb – and SDA – Bosniac – party supporting Mesić's presidential run while being part of Sanader's coalition at the same time. According to the article, HDZ is preparing to ditch ethnic minorities and find alternative and more stable parliamentary majority in 8 representatives of HSP, far right party.

The article even mentions that Anto Đapić (Anto Djapic), HSP leader, could get the post of defence minister while Pero Kovačević (Pero Kovacevic) could get the helm of POA, one of Croatia's national security agencies.

It is more than obvious that floating of such speculations is part of pre-election strategy. HDZ needs to mobilise as much of its voting base as possible – many of whom stayed at home in disgust of Sanader's "European" policies and courting ethnic minorities. With HSP as potential member of governing coalition, many Tudjmanist true believers will see HDZ as a good old party they could vote for.

Of course, some of Sanader's champions in Brussels and other EU capitals might frown upon Croatia's ruling party going to bed with far right, but after Berlusconi and Haider this isn't as unforgivable crime as it used to be. Besides, Sanader doesn't need to actually create this new coalition – simply floating the idea is enough. After the election he can always find good excuses to ditch HSP.

And this is probably the reason why some in HSP, according to article, are sceptical towards the plan.


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