Former President Josipović will not be SDP candidate again


  • Marko Špoljar


Zagreb, 200716.
Prof.dr. Ivo Josipovic, profesor na Pravnom fakultetu Sveucilista u Zagrebu i bivsi predsjednik Republike Hrvatske.
Foto: Darko Tomas / CROPIX
Darko Tomas / CROPIX

Former president Ivo Josipović

The former president Ivo Josipović has said he could not see himself in the Sabor after [a term on] Pantovčak, but SDP party vice-president Zlatko Komadina does not see him as a presidential candidate neither.

- We would be happy to see Ivo Josipović as an SDP representative in the next Sabor, but he will almost certainly not be our candidate for the President - says a close associate of Social Democratic Party president Davor Bernardić in the context of the recent talk about the likely return of the former Croatian President to the SDP fold.

- After all, he has once lost against Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović in the elections. I think that door has already been closed.

On Tuesday, the SDP presidency decided to form a three-member team to negotiate with Josipović and his team from the Naprijed Hrvatska [Forward Croatia] party to merge with the SDP.

Different messages

- The story that I have returned to the SDP is not true - says Josipović.

- Naprijed Hrvatska will have a presidency meeting next week to decide whether to negotiate on the merger. I hope we will, and that the negotiations will be successful - he added.

Asked whether he had ambitions to run for President of the Republic again, he said he was not thinking about it at the moment. He does not think a possible candidacy will be a subject in the negotiations with SDP.

- It was not a topic in the talks with the [Civic-Liberal Alliance] GLAS, either -he told us.

- However, I do advocate that the joint presidential candidate of the left and center-left be the one who will have the greatest chance of winning.

At the moment, Josipović's possible candidacy appears to have no support in the SDP leadership.

- I have known Ivo for a long time - says a member of the SDP presidency we have talked to.

- He is a man of certain skills, but he is politically selfish. He got a lot of help from the SDP. He entered both the [Zagreb] City Assembly and the Sabor on our slates as an independent candidate. Later on, he won the presidential elections as our candidate. Do you think he would ever have reached [the presidential palace on] Pantovčak without our candidacy and backing? And then he repaid us 'splendidly' when he lost the [next] presidential elections against Grabar-Kitarović - he threw sticks and stones at the SDP. He ran afoul of great many people then. His candidacy would not be received well. It is true that [the then SDP president] Milanović was not fair towards him, but he did not have to censure the entire SDP because of that. Finally, even if we did post his candidacy, I'm not sure how well he would fare in the elections. If he is entering the SDP counting on that, it will be his fiasco.

Voice against

SDP party vice-president Zlatko Komadina says Josipović is welcome, but he does not see him as the presidential candidate either. To him, Josipović's return to Pantovčak does not seem like a realistic idea.

- Of course, his ambitions are legitimate and of course he believes he would be a better candidate than the current President- he told us a few days ago adding, 'of course he would be a more logical choice for the center-left than Grabar-Kitarović, but I think it would be a difficult task.'

Sole supporter

Former Defense Minister Predrag Matić is one of the few SDP officials to look positively at the possibility of Josipović being the presidential candidate of the party. — He was the best Croatian president so far- says Matić.

- We have to see what candidates the SDP will come up with first. The party has not talked about it yet. As far as I am concerned, why not?

However, most people in the SDP leadership maintain that Josipović will not be their candidate. Many are indifferent towards the return of the former president to the party, too.

- His attitude towards the SDP after he had lost the presidential elections did not sit well with me - says SDP presidency member Domagoj Hajduković.

- I am glad his eyes have opened since, however. He is a Social Democrat, after all.