ZAGREB – Inter-party elections for ruling HDZ on 7 February

The National Council of ruling Croatian democratic party’ (HDZ) announced that inter-party elections will be called on 7 February, after which the procedure for electing the president, deputy and four vice-president of the party will begin. Elections for the new HDZ leadership will be held on 15 March. 

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Current party president, PM Andrej Plenković, is expected to present his candidacy, election headquarters and candidates for deputy and vice-presidents after the elections are announced.

So far, the candidacy for the HDZ president has been confirmed by MP Miro Kovač, while the nominations for deputy president and vice president of the party have been confirmed by MPs Ivan Penava and Davor Ivo Stier, a trio that supports Kovač.

Announcing the nomination, Kovač said the HDZ needed a turnaround because they had experienced two major setbacks in the European and presidential elections. Meanwhile, HDZ also seems to be experiencing setback at local level and in the city of Zagreb. 

The accusations by the opposition against Mayor Milan Bandić and the HDZ which cooperates with him, regarding changes to the city’s urban planning (GUP), continues.

Changes to the GUP, which would allow the construction of the so-called ‘Zagreb Manhattan’, is opposed by numerous associations, urban planners and architects, opposition city lawmakers, and most city councils. Their stance is that based on the Physical Planning Law the entire process of adopting Zagreb’s GUP should be abandoned since the entire project is against the law and the deal is suspicious. Bandić, as a mayor, was several times accused for corruption and bribery.

Still, no one from the HDZ has taken a step to cease cooperation with Bandić. PM Plenković has confirmed on Wednesday that he had talked with the  HDZ president of the city of Zagreb, Andrija Mikulić, about the changes to the city plan, and announced that the city’s HDZ delegation would propose several amendments to the document.

“The whole thing is legal, and political decisions will be made by the general council of the municipality”, Plenković said. But these amendments will only delay the entire GUP enactment process by about a month.

Bandić also said yesterday that he believes in Plenković regarding the HDZ’s support for changes to the GUP, and called opposition and civic and professional protests against the GUP a “mosquito bite”.

The process of GUP is not only the test for the controversial mayor. 

President of the Social democrats (SDP) of the city of Zagreb, Gordan Maras, announced on Monday (3 February) the launch of a referendum to sack Bandic, and called on anyone who cares about Zagreb, including the HDZ, to join the initiative.

He also called HDZ ‘’to move away from Bandic’’. The local elections which will be held in 2021 are getting near and Maras has already announced his candidacy for the mayoralty.  (Karla Junicic|

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