Croatia: Last Bastion For Political Third Way Emerging (?)


Andrej Plenkovic
Croatian Prime Minister
Photo: screenshot

Generally, political pragmatism holds in highest esteem and values reality over ideology. It’s recognition that while a politician’s first job is to get elected, the second job is to do what is right, to the extent that the politician can convince the people to support it. It is the recognition that half a loaf is better than no loaf at all. It is the willingness to strike a compromise whereby as many people as possible get as much of what they want as possible. It is the willingness to work with others on common goals, regardless of differences on other goals. It is the recognition by political leadership and by voters that in a democracy no one ever gets their way on everything. Each parliamentary representative is an ingredient in the mix of government. Each may do their utmost to bend outcomes in their direction, but ultimately each has to recognise that the rest of the nation also has their representatives and has just as much claim as they have.

And it would seem that in Croatia this is not recognised for what it is (determination to carry on with governing the country, which should be seen as a normal and desirous pursuit of all politicians) by many people even though facets of political pragmatism have been unfolding before our eyes for quite a few months with the political crises that threatened yet another fall of government and yet another snap election within a mere six-month period.

Political pragmatism appears to have been the driving and determined force behind HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union (led by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic) fight for survival at the top, in power and in government. For a democracy this is nothing abnormal and nothing unexpected where power at the top means the artery through which election platforms for governing the country flow and are solidified or attempted to be solidified through goals.

On Friday 9 June 2017 HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union made its final moves to secure its minority government and it has saved its bacon. By forming coalition with its ideological opponent HNS (Croatian People’s Party) and the staunchly divisive Italian and Serb minority representatives – it averted a government fall and second snap elections. In essence, snap elections would most likely do more damage than good simply because new elections also mean inability to realise the promises made at elections. Interruptions.

Right or conservatively oriented HDZ’s securing of its tenure as senior partner in a minority government with left oriented HNS has been dubbed an unnatural alliance especially by other right oriented political players and political parties as well as the deteriorating left oriented Social Democrats/SDP. Ideology, or rather its alleged flimsiness, it seems, has been the major bone around which criticism against HDZ’s moves have been directed. This ideology behind HDZ’s right-oriented critics is the one that places “Croatianness” at the pinnacle where all practical ties with former communist regime are rejected and abhorred.

The political reality (and, therefore, the path to achieving needed reforms that would set Croatia on a path to economic stability in particular) over the past year or so in Croatia has been that of living in a political era fraught with unprecedented gridlock and an inability to reach and/or live-out compromises within minority government coalitions. Politics in Croatia has through the last two decades devolved into ideological warfare as politicians butt heads over their drastically different but equally dogmatic philosophies on how to govern this country. The camps of ideology on how to govern in Croatia while numerous, hence the existence of some 150 political parties, have essentially been of two different kinds: the one (the right oriented one) that seeks sovereignty built on national democracy away from any former communist regime ties and the one that upholds as the most holy of governance practices and habits inherited from former communist regime (the left oriented one that likes to refer to itself – wrongly – as antifascist). While ideological warfare is no stranger to other and more developed democracies in Croatia it is more accentuated largely due to the fact that lustration and systematic shedding of inherited communist mindset and practices has not occurred in public administration, cultural, political parties and other avenues.

Ideology is a systematically coordinated and cognitively salient set of politically focused beliefs and a question is put here as to what role it should play in politics. In an ideal world (yes, I understand the irony), all lawmakers would be rational, pragmatic decision-makers capable of divorcing themselves from their personal opinions in favour of working to produce the best possible policies that provide the greatest net benefit to society. Instead of working within a narrow worldview that prescribes a set of one-size-fits-all policies regardless of their overall societal utility, these solons would craft unique solutions on a case-by-case basis in order to maximise benefits and minimise costs.

Ideological purism encourages dogmatism by reinforcing the idea that one’s principles are incontrovertibly true, and any view deviating from those principles is invariably false. This sort of absolutism has drastically negative implications on the multiparty/democratic political system. First, it polarises parliament to the point where its members fall victim to ingroup and outgroup biases, causing them to demonise any position that conflicts with their ideologies, and by association, any fellow members who hold such positions. Debates over legislation often devolve into a set of ad hominem attacks that can often work antithetically to the creation of sound policy. Second, it mitigates any ability for lawmakers to reach compromises because neither side will concede. Compromise becomes a sign of weakness because it creates the impression that those involved are not firm in their convictions and would rather betray their principles by selling themselves out for short-term political gain. This leads to obstructionism and gridlock, which complicates a government’s ability to act swiftly and decisively in times of crisis, all while dissolving the political middle ground.

Politics should be about working in the best interests of society, and that generally necessitates compromise. Political parties with differing ideologies will always exist and disagree with one another, but they should be competing in a race to the middle, not a race to the fringes. Borne out of this conception of politics is “syncretic politics” (a union of opposing principles), the idea that legislators should break from the traditional confines of the left-right political spectrum in favour of aggregating a set of solutions from both sides that work most advantageously for society.

This would be THE foundation for a “Third Way” or “Third political force” Croatia, like all two-party political climates, has been searching for, for more than a decade. Over the years the emergence of political parties and/or political movements such as Democratic Centre, HRAST, various splits and re-assemblies of Croatian parties of Right, Croatian Dawn, ORAH, MOST/Bridge – to name but a few – testifies to the fact that a “Third Way” has been an almost constant subject in the search for the right/needed political solution in Croatia.

So far there have been no champions of the Third Way in Croatia. All attempts have been relatively insignificant, short-lived or suffocated to political oblivion or insignificance brokered by one of the two major political parties. The major parties in their quest for power had, as a rule, created a “space for deletion” of the Third Way. The success of Third Way suffocation so far could well be ascribed to the ideologically narrow platform embraced by the failed Third Way political protagonists whose short-lived lives in essence fed on politically like-minded bands of cheer-squads that made little or no room to infiltrate or convince opponents or the undecided about the righteousness for Croatia of their platforms in order to expand on popularity. And so a certain hunger for a Third Way continues vigorously in various sectors of Croatian society – many questions of ideological nature and the place ideology should play in addressing and bettering society’s daily living reality remain unrequited.

Recent Western world political history has demonstrated that perceived champions of the Third Way can exist and can be successful. E.g., Tony Blair in the UK and Bill Clinton in the USA had skilfully managed to combine ideas from both the left and the right to achieve reconciliation between opposing worldviews and formulate good policies. These political ThirdWays did good things but they neglected social solidarity and national cohesion. Obviously, disagreements are inevitable, but whenever they arise in parliament, lawmakers should work them out through horse-trading, smart concessions, and deal making in order to assuage both sides and solve societal problems. Admittedly, Croatia is a harder ideological nut to crack than what UK or USA might be because of its relatively recent communist past but it needs to be kept in mind that nothing is impossible when it comes to politics propped up by measures that make-up daily living reality that is in essence somewhat divorced from political ideology.

National cohesion is essential for Croatia otherwise the busiest route onwards is downwards when it comes to Croatian national interests, which by the way everyone talks about but rare are those who can name and point them out specifically – even though they are existent in one form or another contained within the Constitution.

I’m not saying that having a set political ideology is a bad thing when it comes to decision-making and passing legislation. In fact, it can be a very good, and sometimes necessary, thing. An overarching ideology can help standardise the way one calculates benefits to society by providing a targeted lens through which to view the world rather than an arbitrary method of assigning values to costs and benefits as one may see fit. For example, in economics, different schools of thought assign different values to efficiency and equity. Capitalists would argue that efficiency is a much greater benefit to society whereas Marxists would argue that equity should be society’s chief economic goal. Each side has a standardised worldview under which it operates, even if both sides have different interpretations of what is most important.

But don’t take this to mean that lawmakers (parliamentarians) should always work to promote whatever they view as most important regardless of other considerations. Ideology alone most rarely trumps rational decision-making; politicians’ worldviews should still operate within the framework of cost-benefit analysis, and in situations where adhering to an ideology would result in incurring a greater opportunity cost than deviating from it would, politicians should compromise their principles in favour of benefit maximisation.

Last week’s outcome favourable to HDZ’s continued lead in Croatia’s government is a case that may well serve as proof that staunch ideological purism (had HDZ stuck to those guns instead of striking alliances with political opposites or those that disagree with its ideology) is unfavourable politics and, had it worked towards the unknown of any new general elections it could have ceded control of government to other political camps that in essence hold no promise at this stage that reforms needed in the country would be achieved.

It is a blatant and often cruel reality that when one backs oneself into an ideological corner without room to maneuvre, it makes it more difficult to compromise and achieve ones goals for the betterment of society based on ideological premises. And as evil a word as “compromise” has become in the last several years, good government is about compromise. It is about people of different beliefs coming together. Whether HDZ will achieve this togetherness with its partners is yet to be seen even if both government partners – HDZ and HNS – promise a determined future solidarity with each other.

One could say that it’s the unrequited ideological stance that promotes full democracy and Croatian sovereignty, achieved through Homeland War sufferings and sacrifices, away from communist remnants, that have driven most past attempts at Third Way in politics and government.


Currently there is a political tide in Croatia channeling the creation of a new right-wing movement and a new political party that fits in various degrees this unrequited ideological stance. This political tide has become convincingly synonymous with three active politicians’ and members of parliament names: Bruna Esih, Zlatko Hasanbegovic and Zeljko Glasnovic. All three right wing, patriotically, conservative politics oriented.

From Left:
Zlatko Hasanbegovic, Bruna Esih, Zeljko Glasnovic
Photo: screenshot


Evidenced by various media coverages and social media outpours of support this new political movement or new political party in progress is seen by many supporters as that which will save Croatia from total obscurity and alienation of its original national goals in the creation of the modern and independent state of Croatia, thoroughly cleansed of communist mindsets and practices. This, of course, is not a new political reality nor sentiment; it is ingrained in the rather widespread quest for national Croatian democratic sovereignty. It is, though, amidst political crises in Croatia, seen by many as the last bastion for a Third Way that may have a chance of defending and solidifying the goals set in the beginning of Croatia’s secession from communist Yugoslavia. Whether the protagonists of this new Third Way will achieve the goals will, without doubt, depend on political pragmatism, on reaching out to the everyday reality that is multi-faceted and padded with a “garden variety” of ideological stepping stones.

The Third Way has almost become the subject of pamphlets – everywhere. As a political idea Third Way is at least as old as Eduard Bernstein’s bid in the last decade of the 19th century to detach the German Social Democrats from marxian communism by taking the parliamentary road. In 1959 the postwar German SPD did it again by ‘accepting’ capitalism.

Does the Third Way help relieve us of our present discontents? Or, to put that more concretely, are controls on international investment justified when, as the New York Times said way back on Sunday 20 September 1998, experts prepare to re-think systems as free flowing capital sinks nations? The Third Way is meant to be expunging from the domestic body politic. It is at this point that the intellectual weaknesses of the Third Way become obvious and hence, sinkage into oblivion or political insignificance experienced by previous Third Way attempts in Croatia.

I have always believed that politics is first and foremost about ideas. Without a powerful commitment to goals and values, governments are rudderless and ineffective, however large their majorities or small their minorities are. Furthermore, ideas need labels if they are to become popular and widely understood. The “Third Way” is, to my mind, the best label for the new politics which the progressive centre that embraces facets of both the right and the left.

The Third Way stands for a modernised social democracy, passionate in its commitment to social justice and the goals of a nation, but flexible, innovative and forward-looking in the means to achieve them. It is founded on the values which have guided progressive politics for more than a century – democracy, liberty, justice, mutual obligation as well as internationalism without which today’s economy would lose its legs. But it is a third way because it moves decisively beyond an old left preoccupied by state control, high taxation and producer interests.

My vision for Croatia is of a popular politics reconciling themes which in the past have wrongly been regarded as antagonistic – patriotism in particular; rights and responsibilities; the promotion of enterprise and the attack on poverty and discrimination. Croatia still has far to go to build the open, fair and prosperous society to which people aspire.

A successful Third Way is not an attempt to split the difference between right and left. It is about traditional values in a changed world. And it draws vitality from uniting the two streams to the levels that give it enough people-based validity to keep its goals running and in achievement mode. My political beliefs are rooted in a belief that we can only realise ourselves as individuals in a thriving civil society, comprising strong families and civic institutions buttressed by intelligent government. For most individuals to succeed, society must be strong. When society is weak, power and rewards go to the few not the many. Values are not absolute, and even the best can conflict. A Third Way’s mission should be to promote and reconcile the four values which are essential to a just society which maximises the freedom and potential of all our people – equal worth, opportunity for all, responsibility and community. After all, Croatia did fiercely fight its defensive Homeland War to achieve a democracy within which these four essential and core values would become the ingredients of the brand of democracy and freedom from communism it set its eyes ad determination upon. Equal opportunity in Croatia especially when it comes to employment is a far cry from the one effervescent in Western democracies and that fact alone, is an alarm bell that should be ringing in all ears as, for sure, it is the culprit of alarming injustice driven by communist era nepotism.

The question hovers in Croatia: can a Third Way, a Third political force succeed or not? Succeed in either capturing governmental rights or in remaining a political force that keeps a government on alert. Some, particularly guided by past experiences, will say no – it cannot succeed. Others, though, guided by possibilities and the reality of society’s needs on a national basis and possibilities that implementing the constitution means taking advantage and of the potential they offer to shape policy – will say yes. Presenting the latter in packages that appeal to people’s needs, that reverberate true is the key to any success, even a Third Way’s. Ina Vukic



Croatia: A Stalinist Lean?

Zoran Mamic (left) and Zdravko Mamic (right) Photo: Ivica Tomic

Zoran Mamic (left) and Zdravko Mamic (right)
Photo: Ivica Tomic


Arresting someone on suspicion or charges of tax fraud and embezzlement is not an uncommon thing throughout the world, so the fact that it occurs in Croatia is really not as newsworthy as the government controlled large part of Croatian media makes it out to be. But very few countries could beat Croatia and the current government’s sensationalistic executions of arrest and search warrants at the time when they should actually be publishing what they are doing to prevent hordes of young people exiting Croatia in search of work elsewhere.

When the Croatian public learned on Friday 3 July that the state bureau for combating corruption (USKOK) had finalised its investigation into allegations of embezzlement, tax fraud and evasion against the “bosses” of the Croatian most successful soccer club “Dinamo – Zagreb” and that arrests were imminent, the implicated brothers – Zdravko Mamic, the chairman of Dinamo Zagreb, and his brother Zoran Mamic, the club’s coach – were in Slovenia attending the club’s training camp. The Mamic brothers wasted little time and returned to Croatia to face the authorities but as soon as they crossed the border in a car Croatian police arrested them and drove them to prison from where they are expected to face the court and apply for bail! It’s not as if they were on the run from Croatia! Their homes were searched also and the president of the Croatian Football Federation, HNS, Damir Vrbanovic, was also arrested and placed into one-month custody as a measure preventing any influence on possible witnesses.
Zdravko Mamic is suspected of taking undeclared commission fees from the sale of several Dinamo players to foreign clubs. He has denied his and his brother’s wrongdoing. Sales of Dinamo players of note include: Luka Modric (Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid), Zvonimir Boban (AC Milan), Robert Prosinecki (Real Madrid, Barcelona), Eduardo da Silva (Arsenal) and Alen Halilovic (Barcelona).
Zdravko Mamic, known for his ardent love of the Croatian nation and its independence, responded by saying that the criminal investigation represents “genocide” against him, his family, Dinamo and the Croatian state.
“…The whole world will find out about this and will see that the government which is the descendant of the Communist Party has not moved away from its methods, that is, political reckoning with those who think differently. Of course all this is an order from the very top of the government, from the Prime Minister down…It’s clear from all his public outbursts that concoctions of various affairs against people of right-wing political orientation are rife…”

Croatian TV news said Saturday 4 July that this case represents the largest amount of money that the anti-corruption bureau USKOK has so far investigated. Reportedly USKOK alleges that brothers Mamic have through corrupt dealings, embezzlement, scooped for their personal benefit the sum of 117.8 million Kuna (15.2 million Euro) from Dinamo football club and 11.2 million Kuna (1.5 million Euro) from the state budget i.e. tax. Mamic brothers have denied guilt to these charges and vow to prove their innocence.

Croatian media said that the Mamic brothers are accused by the USKOK bureau as having channeled the funds into their private accounts by taking undeclared commission fees from the sale of Dinamo players to foreign clubs and through “illegal” contracts with individual players.

Zdravko Mamic’s solicitor, Jadranka Slokovic, said that her client had laid out a very wide defence through which he denied all charges put against him. She stated that in her opinion this is a case of a “malicious procedure through which documents about transfers of football players are wrongly read and presented” and that “on the other hand, we are looking at a political procedure that has the elimination of Zdravko and Zoran Mamic as its goal.”

The former president of Croatia, Ivo Josipovic, commented that it would be hard to even think that the charges of corruption were an election tool (for the leftist Social Democrats), because that would mean that Croatia is a Stalinist society, and that’s not true – he said.

That indeed is yet to be seen when it comes to this particular case but sadly the due process for either guilt or innocence will not pass through the courts before the elections early 2016. So, in effect, the arrests at this particular time and the sensationalism created around them do smell of political fodder for the public; and that fodder will not benefit the conservative political parties but the ones Josipovic and current government subscribe to. In this year of 2015, arrests on suspicion of corruption and fraud should be a “normal” matter, a “days work” so to speak instead of being unleashed into the media as some sensation that lasts for days! Croatia has been and is riddled with corruption and these latest arrests with their media fanfare for the benefit of the ruling political parties do strongly suggest that it is still all about politics and not about stemming out corruption at every level. To me, whether “brothers Mamic” or some local government officials were found guilty of corruption (and there are multitudes of those) is one and the same thing – equally bad, equally unacceptable. But people of “brother Mamic” social calibre and standing are perfect for the creation of public hysteria, whether “positive” or “negative” – and either does leave noticeable imprint on “opinion polls” and eventually on election results. This really does remind one of manipulations akin to a “Stalinist state” for in a true democracy corruption is individualised and individuals if found guilty bear all the responsibility, not the people or the nation. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A.,M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: “Return to Tudjmanism”, “Detudjmanisation” – Catch Phrases That Hide True Democratic Reform Incompetence?

Political incompetence

Profound disillusionment with all major political parties in Croatia has reached the point where people are looking for a third alternative away from HDZ-run or SDP-run government, which would pursue an orderly transformation to full democracy without romanticising or prostituting the history.

The fact that there is not a single major Croatian party that currently enjoys a sufficient degree of respect in Croatia can actually be interpreted in ways that tell us that the people have matured in democratic thinking much more than political parties’ leadership and actions have.

The major political parties have all been in power since 1990 (HDZ more than SDP), and, if we exclude the war years of Serb aggression when democratic reforms were almost impossible to achieve in the fuller sense, they have all failed miserably in privatisation because it became the breeding ground for corruption, they have all failed miserably at tax cuts, at job creation through entrepreneurship, at expanding of foreign trade, at eradicating political elitism, at installing (facilitating) the rights and responsibilities of democracy in every citizen, at reiterating the true reality that Croatia is independent from Communism and totalitarianism because the majority of its citizens wanted it so.

They have all failed miserably at Tudjmanism!

Having said this, there can be no denying that many real changes have occurred over the last twenty-three years with Croatia now judged as ready to join the European Union. But when one scratches the surface of these changes one cannot avoid encountering the feeling that something is alarmingly wrong, which is causing the widespread disillusionment (which has increased in intensity over the past five years) with the major political parties. Perhaps the mere fact that many changes that occurred in order to align Croatia with European Union standards were delivered without a real and democratic input by the population- at least with those who actually put their lives on the line to achieve independence (the war veterans, the victims and the families of victims). The “big tent” tradition of former Communist Yugoslavia has been a big part of this problem – elected politicians failed to learn how to listen to and represent those who elected them to the parliament; changes seem to have come as if “ordered from somewhere above” instead of being made from the ground, up.

Life is not something one can turn the clock back on, and start again. The widely used political platform – of “returning to Tudjmanism” – by several political parties in Croatia, including HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) seems to me to be a catch phrase that evokes false impressions that if Croatia sticks to Tudjman all will be okay (?).

The other side of the Croatian political spectrum – the left oriented parties of the governing coalition (Social Democrats/SDP, Croatian People’s Party/HNS etc.) have enjoyed a decade or more of the so-called “detudjmanisation” era under the leadership of former president Stjepan Mesic. This too evokes false impressions that if we move away from Tudjman all will be okay (?).

While “Tudjmanism” wrongly labeled Croatian politics as nationalistic, the “detudjmanisation” wrongly upheld that same view while at the same time attempting to quash the national identity of Croatians as Croatians. And, by national identity I mean the needed changes in laws and regulations of Croatia that would actually reflect the democracy and self-determination thousands upon thousands lost their lives to.

And, to make matters even worse, none of the political parties subscribing to either label or eponym have truly defined what Tudjmanism means, what detudjmanisation means. Thus leaving the whole world, including Croatia, to scratch its head in confusion and lack of clarity in the direction of where Croatian grassroots are going. What a fertile ground for political maneuvering. No wonder there is disillusionment with the major political parties.

If I were to define “Tudjmanism” as it actually expressed itself on the ground (not in some ideological concoction) then the definition would be something like this: “Tudjmanism is an eponym of ideological changes for the political direction of Croatian people that has, as its core values, the right to self-determination and own state territory, the right to democracy, the need to reconcile the past, the need to move far away from the Communist totalitarian and oppressive trends, the underwriting of transformation from totalitarian to democratic way of life”.

There is no mortal sin in the usage of the words of “Tujmanism” or “Detudjmanisation” just as there is no mortal sin in the usage of the words “Thatcherism” or “dethatcherism”, for example.  If we’re to compare the latter to the Croatian political scene then “Tudjmanism” is by political meaning close to “Thatcherism”, especially when it comes to its aspects of conservatism, private enterprise as opposed to state ownership, and of holding the reins of government in circumstances of widespread government disorder/ and Croatia was in disorder due to transitional period from Communism while Tudjman was at the helm. Tudjman though, was much higher in the statehood sense because he (inspired by the will of the people) actually created a state and Thatcher already had a state.  “Detudjmanisation” could easily be compared to a “dethatchrism” concept (if you will), however “dethatcherism” would never get off the ground in Great Britain because it would mean shaking, criminalising or degrading the very foundations upon which Great Britain (and its historical Empire/colonies) became nations of the free and democratic people.

It is a fact that “detudjmanisation” was “championed” by the very individuals and the left oriented political parties who did not want Croatian independence in the first place.  It was “championed” by some who hold government in Croatia today or who still have not understood nor accepted the fact that Tudjman was there to create the state, secure its territory and give guidelines as to how best to transition Croatian society from communist totalitarianism into a democratic order.
The latest uproar in Croatia is caused by the media reports which say that Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, at the announcement of the governing coalition’s list of candidates for the upcoming EU Parliament elections in Croatia, went on to compare Croatia with Finland and said that “Finland did not have a civil war”. Thus suggesting that Croatian War of Independence (1990’s) was a civil war! It was a war of aggression against those who voted to secede from communist Yugoslavia. Besides making a very stupid, ridicule worthy mistake in saying that Finland did not have a civil war (it did in 1918 and against the Russian provisional government increasingly penetrated by radical Communists from Russia), Milanovic it seems took the time to insult the very basis upon which independent Croatia was created: defending its bare life from brutal aggression. Certainly, Milanovic has complained that the words he said were “cut short” by the media, that he did not say Croatia had a civil war that he said  “Croatia was the only state joining the European Union which had gone through a destructive war and a military aggression”. Well, that’s not true, either, is it!?

All these Milanovic antics indeed seem to smell of “detudjmanisation” and pandering to a nauseous political trend that seems to argue that secession from Communism was not such a good thing. But then again, HDZ leadership, which vows to have turned a new leaf in “returning to Tudman”, did little to chastise Milanovic’s words regarding “civil war” – only a branch or two of its vast establishment came out demanding severe consequences for Milanovic as Prime Minster. Not good enough – it’s the party leader’s job, it was Tomislav Karamarko’s job to come out and “call a spade, a spade” when it comes to Milanovic’s antics.

No matter what’s said or what’s done with regards to Franjo Tudjman the truth will always stand that he was THE one who led Croatia into independence that commenced the path to democracy (exit fro communist totalitarian regime of former Yugoslavia) and as such he has earned a special place in history. There is no doubt about that.

Yet the history has judged him harshly, especially since the times when Stjepan Mesic’s corrupt political gluttony attempted (and partly succeeded) to criminalise Croatian War of Independence and vilify Tudjman as autocratic nationalist. “Detudjmanisation” provided an almost perfect screen to cover-up the alarming incompetence of all governing political parties since 2000.

And now, HDZ (largest party in opposition) keeps announcing how it is returning to “Tudjmanism”!

But Tudjman was not creating a political party in isolation from his goal to create a state; creating a political party meant a platform from which he could realise the will of the people to secede from Yugoslavia and Communism.

So, although a HDZ person, Tudjman had at his heart the interests of all Croatian citizens and their right to an orderly democratic order, modeled upon Western Europe and the rest of the “civilized western world”.

The “detudjmanising” political camp also chose to ignore this.

Was the failure in ushering full changes in Croatia during the past twenty years all because of the political elitism that both “Tudjmanism” and “Detudjmanism” camps nurtured with fierce force (?), instead of actually listening to and following the guidelines and advice Franjo Tudjman gave to the Croatian Parliament and the nation in 1990 (30th May) when, among other things, he said : “…the problems facing the new government are many, complex and tangled, from local communities and municipal councils, to the Parliament, the Government and the Presidency. Within a short period, they will parallelly need to solve many problems of life’s importance which other European and Western countries have solved half a Century ago, or even half a Millennium ago. Let’s mention only the important ones: proprietary relationships and economic life; constitutional order of pluralistic civil society with the appropriate government system modeled on countries of the free world; modernization and revalorisation of public services, especially science and culture, teaching and education, health and social welfare, administrative services and public activities (information, journalism, Radio and TV) etc.”

There is no need to “retudjmanise” or “detudjmanise” Croatia.

It is important to separate Tudjman from HDZ’s future because Tudjman acted for all Croatians, regardless of political parties they may have subscribed to, or not.

Chanting Tudjman’s name (in either positive or negative light) can indeed conceal gross incompetency to lead Croatia in the 21st century. And, this is what most probably has happened – the people are disillusioned with all political parties of note! Tudjman certainly did not want that for Croatia; to experience such widespread pain just because it wanted true democracy. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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