Tomislav Karamarko sends message to Croatia’s leftist government: times of comfort and experimenting with Croatia are over
Tomislav Karamarko, President of HDZ Photo: FAH
Tomislav Karamarko has won the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) elections and has become the fourth president of the party since its foundation in 1989
By 5 a.m. Monday morning Karamarko had the votes of 971 delegates and his opponent Milan Kujundzic received 860 votes in the second round.
1845 delegates voted and 11 of these votes were invalid, giving just under 53% of votes for Karamarko.
As the results were announced Karamarko said that with these results the party has demonstrated the desire for change and unity, for the return to a victorious path and for the clearing of a string of affairs left by individuals.
“Finally, we’re becoming a real Opposition which will point out all mistakes, but will also support the government when it works in the interests of Croatian people.”
He said that HDZ looks forward to democratisation and invigorating of the party and that special attention will focus on the young and on the war veterans. “War veterans will be at the centre of attention,” he pointed out, promising that they will have a true interlocutor in HDZ because they were the ones who gave most to Croatia.
“HDZ must strengthen itself as a party of centre-right. We need to cast out all anomalies and theft from the party …we need to return the party to its roots,” he said.
He emphasised that he will seek unity and energy from the new leadership, adding that “HDZ needs to be returned to Croatia, we need the return of real patriotism because where there is real patriotism, there’s no theft.”
Karamarko sent a message to the leftist government: “times of comfort and experimenting with Croatia are over.”
He stated that he will head the Opposition which will sharply defend the national interests of Croatia and if his firm resolve to deal with issues head-on, even the unpopular ones, is anything to go by, Karamarko’s victory speeches will not remain just that, just political rhetoric.
Regardless of opposing opinions about Karamarko circulating in the media, regardless of all sorts of unsavoury malicious attacks and false biographies, one thing is certain: Karamarko is sure to give the governing coalition a good run for their accountability. And, given that Serbs have just elected Tomislav Nikolic, ultranationalist right wing at heart even though he may want the world to think he has transformed into progressive more-EU oriented politics, for their president, Karamarko’s victory as leader of HDZ is a godsend.
Judging from Nikolic’s statements in months past it is now to be seen whether Serbia continues to reconcile with its neighbors and wartime foes, including the former province of Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008. Serbia has refused to recognise Kosovo’s independence. Nikolic has not strayed from his Greater Serbia ideals and I do fear that Croatia needs to brace itself for Nikolic’s path in attempting to justify Serb aggression against Croatia in the early 1990’s, equating the victims with the aggressors.
Washington Post reports: “Nikolic, who narrowly lost two earlier presidential votes to Boris Tadic, claimed to have shifted from being staunchly anti-Western to pro-EU. But that change is widely believed to be a ploy to gain more votes. Nikolic has close ties with Russia and has in the past even envisaged Serbia as a Russian province.
‘Serbia will not stray from its European road,’ Nikolic, a former ultranationalist ally of wartime Serbian leader Milosevic, insisted Sunday. ‘This day is a crossroad for Serbia.’”
The HDZ leadership election results undoubtedly speak volumes of the resolve to change things and to strengthen not only the party but also the nation. Democracy simply cannot function to its best potential if there isn’t a strong opposition government and without decisive changes, without regaining of peoples’ trust, HDZ would simply wither away into insignificance. At the end of the day, HDZ delegates are to be congratulated in their performance at the HDZ General assembly on Sunday where many from the “old” leadership were simply voted out and new blood injected. It was by no means an easy task, I’m sure, for many loyalties had to shed to achieve this. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps.(Syd)