On 1 July leader of Croatia’s Social Democratic Party (SDP), Zoran Milanovic, has called for early parliamentary elections, following the resignation of the Prime Minister and leader of the ruling centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) , Ivo Sanader on 1 July. Milanovic affirmed that Croatia needs “a new leadership, a new political direction and new answers from progressive politicians”.
“Croatia is facing an extremely difficult economic and social situation, with the Government led by HDZ incapable of leading the country. Sanader and his cabinet have not been able to face the challenges of the recent financial and economic crisis. Therefore, Social Democrats are calling for early parliamentary elections, said Milanovic. The Government led by HDZ for the last six years has clearly failed to create stable political, financial, macroeconomic and social pre-conditions for meeting EU-standards in the country likely to join the EU soon. In the last six months the Government and its Prime Minister have shown a significant lack of strategy for dealing with the crisis, with consequences we are yet to witness. Milanovic believes a new political legitimacy is needed. The question of the vote of trust for the new Prime Minister proposed by HDZ is not simply a technical, but deeply a political question. It is a question of the trust of voters. Resignation of the Prime Minister calls for a new decision in the elections”, an SDP statement read.
Ivo Sanader (56) resigned on 1 July as the country’s PM, announcing his withdrawal from politics for good. "I have decided to withdraw from active politics and will not run as a candidate for Croatian president in presidential elections due in 2010”, Mr Sanader told a specially convened press conference in Zagreb. He did not, however, announce the reasons for the decision, explaining it only as ‘personal matters’. He still had two years to go before his second term in office was to expire. Sanader recommended to Croatia’s President his deputy, Jadranka Kosor, as the best person to replace him. In 2000 Sanader took over the HDZ, after the death of Franjo Tudjman, and steered the party from hard line nationalism to a moderate centre-right position.
Sources: Social Democratic Party (SDP); BalkanInsight; EUObserver