Možemo! We have shown that it could be done! Despite the difficult circumstances, and opposing giants like HDZ and SDP, achieved an excellent result and secured seats in parliament.
Sunday’s elections in Croatia took place in the complex context of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis. Despite such circumstances, the results are there and will create the social, political and economic climate of Croatia in the next four years.
These elections suggest that Croatia, unfortunately, continues to lean decisively to the right. Strong results by HDZ were accompanied by a solid result by Most, the traditional right-wing party (8 deputies), and especially those of the Domovinski pokret (Homeland Movement), the nationalist party of singer Miroslav Škoro (15 deputies).
On the „brighter“ side of HDZ’s victory, the center-right party won a sufficient number of votes, thus avoiding an alliance with Miroslav Skoro’s nationalist and populist party, which, although still marginal, is becoming increasingly politically relevant.
However, Škoro’s still minor role will not be enough to deal with worrying democratic stalemates in the country, such as media freedom, corruption, treatment of migrants. Andrej Plenković is not a politician dulled by right-wing ideology, but rather a mere careerist. His right-center party is run by collecting votes instead of introducing radical changes that would ensure a brighter future for the Croatian people. But in Croatia, nationalism is clearly still a strong driving force, and the memory of the war remains an important part of the political campaigns of nationalists and populists.
However, the bright side of Croatian election results is the red-green platform made up of Možemo! (We can!), Nova ljevica (New Left), Radnička Fronta (Workers‘ Front), ORaH (Održivi razvoj Hrvatske – Sustainable Development of Croatia), Zagreb je naš! (Zagreb is ours!) and Za Grad (For the City), which stands for an ecological and solidary Croatia. The Green Left Coalition, despite the fact that it started acting on the local political scene of Zagreb, managed to collect a number of names on its lists that are known to the wider Croatian public, from singer Mile Kekin to actor Vilim Matula.
Despite difficult circumstances, and opposed to giants such as HDZ and SDP, Možemo! achieved an excellent result and secured 7 seats in the Croatian parliament. These seats will be taken by Tomislav Tomašević, Sandra Benčić, Damir Bakić, Vilim Matula, Rada Borić, Katarina Peović and Bojan Glavašević. New representatives of the Možemo! platforms are well known to the public, especially to left-wing voters.
It also proved to be the biggest winner in Zagreb, illustrating the definite failure of longtime mayor Milan Bandic, whose party BM365 failed to cross the election threshold. This is the biggest defeat for Milan Bandic since he took control of the Croatian capital in 2000.
One thing is certain — a significant part of left-wing voters have placed all their hopes in the green-left coalition. This is especially the case regarding HDZ’s defeat over SDP, while the SDP debacle will strongly affect the development of the Croatian political scene. A good part of left-wing voters, obviously disappointed with Bernardic’s SDP, turned to the Možemo! coalition, indicating a growing awareness in citizens about the need for a red-green leftist policy.
Voters who have given Možemo! their vote and confidence are committed to radical change in the political and economic system.
After 30 years of liberal transition in Croatia, voters believe the time has come to transform the social, political and economic model.
If we want this success to become a triumph of (true) leftist politics, the seven new representatives will have to justify the trust of their voters. They already have shown commitment and effort throughout many years. It would be hard to imagine that any of the seven MPs of the Možemo! coalition could subdue the ruling majority or cede their votes in exchange for privileges, which is definitely not the case with SDP’s Restart coalition.
With the cooperation and support of all European progressive parties and platforms, MOŽEMO! is undoubtedly a key actor in building a just and solidary Croatia and Europe.
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