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Rise of populist party in Croatia a cause for concern for leading political party ahead of EU elections

Written by  Feb 25, 2019

The campaign for the upcoming European Parliament elections are underway and it seems that the running political party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), and concerned about the recent popularity of an emerging populist party in Croatia.

Speaking at a HDZ political rally at the weekend in Karlovac the Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, said that "No one else either had the opportunity or pushed so much for Croatia's strong position on the international scene.”

He added that both Croatia and Europe were in a complex situation and that the political parties who spoke about protecting Croatia’s sovereignty were directly targeting HDZ voters. This was clearly a reaction to the upcoming populist party in Croatia, Živi Zid (Human Shield), who are campaigning hard for the EU elections and one of their policies is to take Croatia out of NATO and the EU and to recover the country’s sovereignty.

“Their concept of sovereignty is about 30 years old and shows their ignorance of the present and Croatia's position,” added the Prime Minister.

Živi Zid have teamed up with political parties from other EU members for the May elections, including one of the leading Italian parties Five Star Movement. In a recent projection by the EU Živi Zid are expected to win their first ever MEP seats, in fact two MEP seats in the European parliament this May. The five parties will put forward a combined program, and include political parties from Poland, Greece and Finland. Currently none of these five anti-establishment parties has a seat in the European Parliament.

This is clearly worrying for HDZ, even though the EU predicts that they will win six MEP seats in the European Parliament out of a possible 12 up for grabs.

Plenkovic went on to say that the HDZ had led reforms aimed at ensuring democratic institutions, high standards in the protection of human and minority rights, a functioning justice system, and press freedoms.