Mayor's sleepers: Members of SDP are being paid by the City budget - are they going to turn their back to the party?



Zagreb, 090818.
Stranka rada i soidarnosti BM365.
Gradonacelnik Zagreba Milan Bandic odrzao je konferenciju za novinare Stranke rada i solidarnosti na temu Aktualna politicka situacija u Republici Hrvatskoj.
Na fotografiji: Milan Bandic.
Foto: Zeljko Puhovski / CROPIX

The Mayor of Zagreb, Milan Bandić

Four prominent members of the Croatian leftist party SDP decided to abandon their party in order to join the newly established one whose president is Milan Bandić, the Mayor of Zagreb.

Social Democratic Party (SDP) president Davor Bernardić, who has been fighting other prominent party members to secure his position at the helm is facing a new problem - his main political stronghold in the capital is rapidly losing its members.

It appears that members of SDP's Zagreb branch, who have been supporting Bernardić's presidency the most are turning out to be more loyal to the Mayor of Zagreb than to their own party president.

Over the last year or so, as many as four prominent SDP Zagreb branch members have shifted their party members to join the newly established one of Milan Bandić. All of them are employed at the City organizations or companies, which means that their salaries directly depend on the Mayor of Zagreb.

The members in question are Sanja Ožić, who served as SDP City Council member as well as the member of SDP's Zagreb branch. Until four years ago, she was head of the Andrija Štampar Teaching Institute of Public Health, after which she found employment at the Zagrebački Holding utility conglomerate. Besides Ožić, defectors include Tamara Borković and two former SDP members whose departures were especially unpleasant for Bernardić.

Radenko Tomić joined the party of Milan Bandić one year ago, which increased the number of Bandić's City Council members to 15 while simultaneously lowering the number of SDP members to six. At the time, Bernardić justified Tomić and stressed that he was forced to defect as he was offered a contract with wage some HRK 3.000 lower than previously, which means that he would not be able to repay his loans. Tomić is employed at the water supply company of Zagreb.

Hole in the party

Last week, when it was reported that Tamara Čubretović, Bernardić's right hand in the SDP, joined Bandić's party and strengthened his hold of the City Council while lowering SDP's influence, Bernardić remained silent. By joining Bandić's party, she left a large hole in the SDP. She was head of the Črnomerec local organization, entered party Presidency on the slate of Bernardić's candidate for head of SDP's Zagreb chapter and was the member of SDP Main Committee. It is worth noting that Čubretović also works at the Holding - at the city fair called Zagrebački velesajam.

If we look at the number of SDP's Zagreb branch members receiving wages from the Zagreb City budget, just those holding important positions, we can conclude that Bandić has many sleepers in the SDP. And if we take a closer look at the names, we can conclude that sleepers are largely Bernardić's supporters.

Of SDP's 17 local organizations in Zagreb operating in different neighborhoods, as many as 7 are headed by people whose existence depends on Bandić.

Besides Tamara Čubretović from Črnomerec, there are Domagoj Prica from Gornja Dubrava, who works at Zagrebparking, and Tihomir Barišić, Bernardić's best man, who works in the Holding's signalization sector. Barišić holds several functions in the SDP.

The head of SDP's local branch Novi Zagreb - west, Miroslav Dukić, is also on the City's payroll. Moreover, there are several prominent members, all of whom are serving as the head of the local organization of SDP, which are employed in various Zagreb companies.

The Zagreb branch has 26 members on SDP's Main Committee, which should have 103 members according to party statute. Of that, three have formally joined forces with Bandić (Tamara Čubretović, Sanja Ožić, and Radenko Tomić).

New Presidency

After the results of the intra-party elections due to which Bernardić had been replaced by Gordan Maras as the president of the Zagreb branch, the new presidency of the branch has been chosen. It had 14 members, largely loyal to Maras' rival Bernardić, while six of them are receiving wages directly from the Mayor Bandić.

Sanja Ožić worked as the head of the Andrija Štampar Teaching Institute of Public Health and then found employment at the Zagreb Holding company.

Radenko Tomić joined the party of Milan Bandić one year ago. He is currently employed at the water supply company owned by the City.

Tamara Čubretović moved from SDP to Bandić's party last week. She is employed at the Zagrebački Holding.

If we look at the number of SDP members of the Zagreb branch whose salaries arrive from the City budget, it may seem like the Mayor has many sleepers in the Croatian leftist party. However, if we look at their names more closely, we see that they are dominated supporters of the current presidency of SDP.

Inačica na drugom jeziku / Alternate language version