Croatia: HDZ Purges – Another One Bites The Dust?

Jadranka Kosor    Photo: Ranko Suvar/ Cropix

Jadranka Kosor Photo: Ranko Suvar/ Cropix

Whether one likes or dislikes Jadranka Kosor as a politician, as a former president of Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ and former Prime Minister of Croatia is beside the arguably moot point of the party’s recent and current self-cleansing frenzy. Yesterday (Thursday 18 April 2013) the final nail had been driven into Kosor’s HDZ membership coffin – she was expelled from HDZ (leading parliamentary party in opposition).

Jadranka Kosor, took over the premiership of Croatia in turmoil after her predecessor Ivo Sanader was forced to resign in 2009 in a whirl of corruption scandals, and then wrapped up her Croatia’s accession talks with the EU.

The December 2011 general elections saw Kosor and HDZ lose government and gain increasing public disdain.

HDZ took the necessary steps any political party would take in the aftermath of significant electoral loss: it voted Kosor out as its leader and voted the current incumbent Tomislav Karamarko in. It also claimed to being committed on embarking upon a vigorous path of “cleansing itself” from those not worthy of party membership, or those that have, according to them, compromised themselves in some “publicly” obvious way. It wowed vehemently to return to its political roots – Franjo Tudjman’s ideals, and correct the wrongs done unto the party (and Croatia) through de-Tudjmanisation of the party and the society in the past decade or so.

Kosor considers that the HDZ’s court of honour decision to strike her from the party’s membership was in contradiction to the party’s statute and a precedent because of the “arguments and the way that job was done,” adding that she had informed the European People’s Party of which the HDZ is a member, of the entire matter – reports daily.tportal.

She added that several lawyers had advised her that she had grounds to file a constitutional complaint against the party and that she was contemplating this possibility.

She once again rejected the explanation by the party court of honour which claimed that she had caused damage to the party’s reputation, claiming that she had not said anything against the party or its leadership and all she had done was to reject the incumbent party president Tomislav Karamarko’s statements that the party’s former leadership had de-Croatianised and de-Tudjmanised the party.
She concluded that she considered that she had achieved a lot as a politician, minister and prime minister.

Kosor, people said, ran the risk of being expelled from HDZ when she recently gave an interview to Globus weekly in which she criticized the party’s president, Tomislav Karamarko.

Karamarko, himself, was party (HDZ) member from the beginning of the nineties, but his party status was frozen for years because of reported quarrels with the then party president, dr Franjo Tudjman.

Karamarko led Stjepan Mesic’s presidential election campaign in 2000 – the times in Croatia’s political life when there was no greater, hateful enemy of Franjo Tudjman and HDZ.  Mesic started his fierce, abominable campaign against Franjo Tudjman during the nineties and continued with it ever since then. His palpably insidious push to criminalise and politically prostitute the Croatian Homeland War spreading hearsay a fact (particularly the one about Tudjman’s meeting at Karadjordjevo in 1991, which led much of the world to believe that Tudjman and Slobodan Milosevic had made an agreement to enter into war and divide Bosnia and Herzegovina between Serbia and Croatia), his vilification of Tudjman, his spin of hatred and his failure to uphold the righteousness of Croatia’s defence from Serbian aggression have been labelled by many as acts of treason.

When Tudjman died in 1999, Ivo Sanader became the leader of HDZ and appointed Karamarko as interior minister in 2008.

Kosor invited Karamarko to rejoin HDZ party in 2011.

So, now, Karamarko accused Kosor of de-Tudjmanising and de-Croatianising HDZ and she decided to defend herself in public. She most likely went public because the party’s corridors just did not want to know. HDZ in its cleansing frenzy and in attempting to create a whole new image (New Time – New Forces) had to, I suppose, blame someone for the so-called de-Tudjmanisation and de-Croatianisation and there’s no better opportunity for finger pointing than when someone goes public on “party” matters!?

If Karamarko was serious about cleansing HDZ from de-Tudjmanisers and de-Croatianisers within the party why would he not target the oldest members who were there, in important party roles all along, long before Kosor, while the de-Tudjmanisation was happening at full steam!? Vladimir Seks, whose political Use-by date had expired long ago, springs to mind. But so do others.

Perhaps it’s because it’s not about cleansing the party of de-Tudjmanisers as well as of corrupt practices but about delusions of grandeur that HDZ seems to suffer from! After all, Karamarko did say in December 2012:

At this moment HDZ is the mechanism which must secure the existence and the pride of Croats and Croatia and a more qualitative life, and if HDZ disappears so will the authentic Croatia.”

Now, that is truly a whopper of a delusion of grandeur that HDZ has. Totally offensive to the majority of Croatian citizens, who are not members of HDZ and who have defended and participated in the creation of “authentic Croatia”.

When Karamarko was minister of internal affairs in Kosor’s government cabinet he gained much reverence and public admiration when he went head-on against Communist crimes, prosecuting or attempting to prosecute for WWII and post-WWII Communist crimes. I myself was impressed, because bringing justice for victims of communist crimes was and still is a paramount issue when it comes to reconciling the past for the full benefit of the nation’s future.

This issue seems to have been thrown into backwaters when Kosor ceased to be at the head of HDZ.

Most disappointing!

If the recent EU Parliament elections are to go by, HDZ did not do well despite winning seats. In fact the greatest victory glory HDZ celebrated belongs to Ruza Tomasic, leader of Croatian Party of Right dr Ante Starcevic who ran in coalition with HDZ. Translated into the context of HDZ’s “New Time – New Forces” slogan, which suggests that HDZ has cleansed itself of negative elements (people), put corruption behind it, these election results point to the view that voters are still sitting on the fence on the matter of “HDZ purity”, or are well behind it.

If I were in Kosor’s place I’d pursue all legal avenues available, and try and restore myself into HDZ’s membership. And then, upon success in the legal action, I would tear up the HDZ membership card and shove the pieces where “the sun don’t shine”!  It’s a matter of principle, of self-respect, of loving Croatia!

This is possible (of course, depending on laws of the country). I did it myself in mid-nineties when I was expelled from HDZ in Australia after exposing corruption and improper dealings. I took the case to NSW Supreme Court, was reinstated into HDZ membership and then ended my membership in the party on my terms, on just terms. That is how democracy works – if you cannot achieve justice through dealing with people, you turn to the courts of law. You hold your head high, you continue loving Croatia and you continue exposing improper and unjust matters that cross your paths in life. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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  1. Alis Jacob says:

    am concerned for the lack of better candidature to follow in Dr. Tudjman’s footsteps. HDZ should validate itself to be the real Croat People party not a party cross-stitch membership….surely there are perfectly great candidates to fill these positions, it is sickening to see the Party that led in Croatian’s freedom be desiccated by less than average political nous. It is evidential that there are way too many subversives in the Croat political landscape.

    • Yes Alis Jacob – the transition from Communism into democracy is lasting too long; the die-hard communists still remember only too well the rewards reaped by being a stooge of party hierarchy. I think that there are several young people in Croatia who are going to make a difference. HDZ it seems has not moved too far along the line of becoming “of the people, for the people”. If Dr Tudjman’s footsteps were followed Croatia would have promoted democracy much further, but it seems Croatian politicians want to be Tudjman and yet, Tudjman was all about visions of democracy for the people. It is truly a shame that individual greed for power has stifled true democracy.

  2. Well said Ina. The problem still lies within the party and other parties where a lot of the members are still from the old communist educated era where corruption and economic mismanagement went hand in hand.

    • Couldn’t agree more Zezevice. When many more people think like you do and then actually go and vote at elections, elect fresh, uncompromised people, then Croatia and democracy will be sitting on clover. As things are now, all there is is political elite and increasing armies of people who live in poverty and under constant aura of spiritual intimidation and lack of courage.

  3. An honorable politician would have voluntarily stepped down from party leadership after such an embarrassing electoral loss. A leader that puts the party ahead of himself/herself will take all the blame on themselves so that the party can more quickly start rebuilding public trust. Jadranka did not do that.

    I wrote this letter to Jadranka a year ago

    See what Jadranka is up to now – she is a new member of the Advisory Board of the Institute IFIMES (International Institute for the Study of the Middle East and the Balkans) – a Mesic/Loncar organization

    Is she showing her true red colors?

    • Yes Zeljko I saw that article in hrsvijet,net and follow the IFIMES closely. I wrote about them in my “Look Who is Digging Theodor Meron’s Grave” recently. Kosor it seems has her own agenda and that’s why she is behaving like a bad loser in politics. I agree she should have stepped down from HDZ leadership when HDZ lost at elections etc, but I do not agree with HDZ’s ways of expelling members who speak their minds. She too was there for a couple of years when Tudjman was demonised and vilified almost non-stop for years by Mesic & Co. She too as leader of HDZ expelled members from the party for similar reasons she now found herself expelled. To my knowledge she never spoke out against Tudjman but she never spoke out against Mesic, either – not in the way that counts, at least. By attaching herself to IFIMES she justified the lack of trust the public had and still has in HDZ. But she is not alone – there’s an army of individuals there who appear to think that it’s enough to call oneself a HDZ member to achieve credibility. And this is becoming irritating.

      I like your letter to her.

  4. Ina, does “Rule of Law” exist in Croatia?

  5. “RULE OF LAW” the people don’t even understand DEMOCRATIC LAW …

    • Or, EPO, the people may understand it but are not given access to exercise it? For example, take the right to vote legislation. Oh, it’s there all right and the leading politicians in government and opposition boast about it, but when it comes to ensuring access to that right – a complete and pathetic disaster, designed to minimise the number of people who will vote. There is no “postal” or “electronic” voting for those who cannot get to a polling place due to say, illness, disability, distance from polling places etc. In the state of New South Wales, for instance, there has only been ONE polling place at elections for Croatia. What does that say to you: a guaranteed way to minimise and marginalise the exercising of voting rights by most eligible voters. I believe the same system of eliminating possible opponents of governing parties is practiced in all Western countries where hundreds of thousands of eligible voters live.

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