Croatia Online - Elections in Croatia
Following the European trend towards the centre ground, there's not too much that separates the two parties now but, certainly amongst the older generation, and those who were most caught up in the Yugoslav war (1991-1995), HDZ symbolises the nationalist liberators and SDP the communist Yugoslavs of old. Feelings still run high in many areas and there was a big furore when one of the cities that suffered greatly in the war, realised that its favourite venue had hosted a private party for SDP recently. The staunchly HDZ city, that was heavily attacked in the war, did not seem to accept the view that the venue's commercial approach to renting its space was reason enough.
There doesn't seem to be much of a dividing line between the two parties on the main issues and there is much speculation that a close vote could end up in a cross party coalition. As with this term of government by HDZ, quite often some of the smaller parties, such as the Peasants' Party and the Pensioners' Party, can wield a disproportionate amount of power. The following links will give you a more detailed analysis:
Watching the run up on Croatian TV it's been interesting to note that, in Croatia, they don't seem to do party political broadcasts as such. Instead they run advertisements in the commercial break along with the soap powders and Coca Cola. We'll try and find out whether this depends entirely on money or there's some "fair" allocation of time. During the high profile Croatia v England football match on Wednesday, prime time for ads, the interval was full of a number of ads for HDZ including the Croatian football captain (and Goran Ivanišević, the Wimbledon champion and several other sportsmen) expounding Dr Sanader's talents and urging voters to put their cross by HDZ. More extraordinarily, another much run ad shows a number of European leaders, including Bertie Ahern, saying what a good bloke Dr Sanader is and appear to be urging voters to choose him. Tony Blair was filmed talking to him but uniquely didn't provide a eulogy. Odd that it seems ok to mix government and politics like that and we wonder if the leaders who spoke, knew of the purpose? If so, the first meeting with a different leader might be a little embarassing!
The ad theme/slogan for HDZ is "idemo dalje" which we assume is intended to mean "let's go further". An alternative translation, according to my dictionary is "let's become more remote" which perhaps both Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher might have pinched if it had been around earlier. SDP's slogan is "Tim" and we felt we'd better look this up as well, in order not to mislead readers by assuming it was the new leader's nickname. It's difficult to get a grasp of the full essence of the meaning from the dictionary which suggests either "so much the..." as in "tim bolje" (so much the better) or (sport) "team". With so many sportsmen appearing in ads for Dr Sanader, it's not easy to see where the SDP is going to get a full olympic squad from.
Today's photo is from the Nato exercises that took place in Croatia this September - if there is a coalition, both parties are agreed on the importance of joining NATO and the EU so an "idemo dalje tim" would be able to go further on that.