Friday, April 15, 2005

[LOCAL ELECTIONS 2005] Red and Black - Sanader's Dilemma

I don’t have much time for blogging these days.

But I still think that I should provide a brief update of what is supposed to be the biggest story of Croatian politics these days.

In short, there is big buzz about Sanader ditching his minor league partners and creating new, more stable majority with HSP, far right party which is supposed to be reinvigorated after local elections. Same idea was floated in November 2003 only to be nixed by Sanader’s European cheerleaders.

In the meantime, HSP has taken some measures to improve its image and become acceptable for EU. Pictures of Ante Pavelić (Ante Pavelic) are long gone from party’s official premises, Mate Granić (Mate Granic) – former “moderate” in Tudjman’s government – is hired as party’s foreign policy advisor and HSP leader Anto Djapić (Anto Djapic) has recently visited some 30 ambassadors trying to convince them that HSP has transformed into “modern conservative right-wing party not so different from German Christian Democrats”.

Sanader will, of course, claim that introducing HSP into government will do wonders in reducing Euroscepticism in Croatia, because HSP (with exception of rural HSS) used to be the only major party whose representatives expressed some kinds of doubts about Croatian EU project. And, to make things even more alarming, HSP is expected to do very well at local elections, getting 10-15 % on average and becoming third strongest party in Croatia.

But I doubt that anything will come out of this. Joining Sanader’s government will only harm HSP in the long run – its popularity is direct result of not being part of establishment and thus being tainted by Račan’s (Racan’s) and Sanader’s sleaze.

Whole idea of HDZ-HSP coalition is, in my view, only a clever ploy to make future coalition between HDZ and SDP more acceptable to Croatian public.

If Sanader is indeed serious about this, it would show incredible lack of historic responsibility and give some interesting ideas to other governments in the region. If HSP joins Sanader’s government and if such government gets greenlighted by EU to start accession negotiations, what should prevent Vojislav Koštunica (Vojislav Kostunica) from taking this example and bringing Vojislav Šešelj’s (Vojislav Seselj’s) SRS into Serbian government?


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