Political Parties



The political arena in Croatia was dominated by the nationalist HDZ from independence until January 2000. As the domination of the HDZ stemmed partly from its ability to manipulate the media and engage in other dubious activities, opposition parties joined forces in an attempt to serve as an effective counterweight. The SDP and the HSLS formed the largest election coalition and were supported by a relatively smaller opposition consisting of the Croatian Peoples’ Party (HNS), the Croatian Peasants’ Party (HSS), the Istrian Democratic Diet (IDS), and the Liberal Party (LS). In the January 2000 election, the SDS/HSLS coalition, supported by two regional parties (the Primorian Goranian Union and the Slavonian Baranian Croatian Party), won 45 percent of the vote.

Major Political Parties

Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) was founded by Franjo Tudjman in 1989 originally as a platform-movement-like party but was soon transformed into a nationalist movement. It won the 1992 general elections and received 44.8 percent of the popular vote in October 1995, when approximately two thirds of 3.6 million eligible Croats voted. It was again able to consolidate its dominant position in 1997. The party consists primarily of former communist nomenklatura, ardent Catholics, convinced nationalists such as Gojko Susak (former minister of Defence), Ustasha veterans seeking political shelter and market reform liberals. Tudjman’s death in December 1999 left the HDZ in disarray. Power struggles erupted between the moderate faction and the right wing hardliners, and several prominent members left the party.
Party Chairman – Ivo Sanader

Social Democratic Party (SDP) is a party with its roots in the values of modern European social democracy. The SDP is closely tied to labor unions, workers, and social movements. It is comprised of an unusually large number of high-ranking women and young people within the party as well as the membership of a significant number of Serbian (one parliamentary delegate) and other nationalities. The SDP’s presidential candidate in the 1997 elections, Dr. Zdravko Tomac, finished second with roughly 21 percent of the vote.
Party Chairman – Ivica Racan

Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) was founded in 1904 under Stjepan Radic and Vlatko Macek and represented roughly 80 to 90 percent of the Croatian electorate during the period between World War I and World War II. The HSS is best described as a moderate conservative party as it advocates traditional values, the role of family life in society, and social and economic stability as prime objectives. Furthermore, the party opposes centralization and state interference in society, is fervently anti-Communist, and maintains a large following in suburban areas.
Party Chairman – Josip Pankretic

Croatian Party of Rights (HSP) was founded in 1990, and, despite its keen sense of nationalism and xenophobia, the HSP did not present a substantial threat to the HDZ’s power base largely because it has had a tendency to fragment. Moreover, the HSP’s paramilitary organization was forcibly integrated into the regular armed forces. The party remains radical and tends to radicalize even further under the current leadership.
Party Chairman – Ante Dapic

Istrian Democratic Assembly (IDS)
is a regional party formed with concern of defending Istrian interests. Istria has traditionally been a wealthy regions of Croatia, and the IDS holds an overwhelming majority of seats in Istria’s regional parliament. The party advocates federalization of Croatia and holds generally liberal views.
Party Chairman – Ivan Jakovcic



* Alliance of the Croatian Littoral and Highland Region (PGS)
* Croatian Christian Democratic Union (HKDU)
* Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)
* Croatian Independent Democrats (HND)
* Croatian Party of Rights (HSP)
* Croatian Peasant Party (HSS)
* Croatian People's Party (HNS)
* Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS)
* Democratic Centre (DC)
* Istrian Democratic Assembly (IDS-DDI)
* Liberal Party (LS)
* Serb People's Party (SNS)
* Slavonia and Baranja Croatian Party (S-BHS)
* Social Democratic Party of Croatia (SDP)


* Adriatic Social Democratic Party of Croatia (Jadranski socijaldemokrati)
* AG Zagreb Party (ZGS)
* Albanian Christian Democratic Party of Croatia (ADMSH)
* Alliance of the Croatian Littoral and Highland Region of Pensioners (PGSU)
* Authentic Croatian Peasant Party (IHSS)
* Central European Action (SEA)
* Christian Social Union (KSU)
* Citizen Party of Sisak (SGS)
* Croatian Christian Democratic Party (HKDS)
* Croatian Christian Democrats (Demokr‰çani)
* Croatian Citizen Peasant Party (HGSS)
* Croatian Dalmatian Home (HDD)
* Croatian Defence Order (HOR)
* Croatian Democratic Centre (HDC)
* Croatian Democratic Party (HDS)
* Croatian Democratic Peasant Party (HDSS)
* Croatian Democratic Republican Party (HDRS)
* Croatian Ecological Alliance (HES)
* Croatian Liberation Movement (HOP)
* Croatian Movement for Rights (HPP)
* Croatian Party of Pensioners (HSU)
* Croatian Party of Rights - 1861 (HSP-1861)
* Croatian Peasant Labour Party (HSRS)
* Croatian Popular Party (HPS)
* Croatian Pure Party of Rights (HâSP)
* Croatian Republican Party (HRS)
* Croatian Republican Union (HRZ)
* Croatian Republicans (HR)
* Dalmatian Action (DA)
* Democratic Party of Pensioners (DSU)
* Democratic party of Prigorje and Zagreb (DPS)
* Democratic Party of Turopolje (TDS)
* Democratic Party of Zagorje (ZDS)
* Freedom Party of Croatia
* Green - New Age Party (Zeleni - SND)
* Green Left of Croatia (ZEL)
* Green Movement of Croatia (Zeleni HR)
* Green Party (ZS)
* Homeland Civic Party (DGS)
* Independent Democratic Serbian Party (SDSS)
* Island's Democratic Party (ODS)
* Istrian Democratic Forum (IDF )
* Istrian Independent Party (INS)
* Istrian Party
* Italian Democratic Union (TDZ-UDI)
* Movement for Human Rights - Party of Ecologically Conscious Citizens (POL)
* New Alternative Party (SNA)
* New Croatia (NH)
* Party of Croatia's Rennaisance (SHP)
* Party of Croatian Defenders (SHB)
* Party of Croatian Plain (SHR)
* Party of Croatian State Rights (SHDP)
* Party of Danubian's Serbs (PPS)
* Party of Democratic Action of Croatia (SDA Hrvatske)
* Party of Me©¢imurje (MS)
* Party of Pensioners (SU)
* Party of Podravina (PS)
* Party of Right Democracy (SPD)
* People's Assembly of Rab (RPS)
* Romany Party of Croatia (SRH)
* Serbian Democratic Party of Baranja (SDBS)
* Social Democratic Action of Croatia (ASH)
* Social Democratic Union of Croatia (SDU)
* Socialist Workers Party of Croatia (SRP)
* South-Croatian Party (JHS)
* Third Croatian Bloc (Treçi blok)