Social Democratic Party of Croatia

Published 24th November, 2011

The Social Democratic Party of Croatia or SDP was founded in 1990 although it traces its roots back to the former League of Communists of Croatia (SKH) and before that the Croatian Communist Party which was formed in 1937. The party describes itself as centre-left and believes in social democracy, the third way and pro-Europeanism.

In the first multi-party elections in 1990 the SDP had not completed the transformation completely and stood as the SKH-SDP, branding themselves as the party of democratic reform. It did them little good and they came second with 20 out of the 80 seats in the new Social Political Council of the Socialist Republic of Croatia.

The party did worse still in the first elections in 1992 under the new constitution. They managed just 11 seats out of a possible 138 seats, coming fifth amongst the parties. Their party leader, Antun Vujić, did little better in the presidential election of the same year, coming eighth.

In 1995 the decline continued and the party managed just 8.93% of the vote and ten seats out of a possible 127 in the Hrvatski Sabor .

In August 1998 the SDP decided to enter into a coalition with the Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) and together they fought the 2000 general election. The coalition won 71 of the 151 seats with the SDP taking 43 seats and moving up to 28.48% of the vote. The two parties then went on to form a wider coalition with four more parties.

Ivica Račan as the leader of the largest party, the SDP, went on to become prime minister. The coalition, however, was not a happy one, and the coalition finally fell apart in July 2002. A new Cabinet was formed but it only managed to get into 2003 before another election was called.

In that election the coalition was defeated by the HDZ and the SDP dropped to 34 seats and 22.52% of the vote.

Standing alone once more in 2007 the party achieved its best result ever, taking 56 seats and 36.6% of the vote in the 153 seat Hrvatski Sabor. They were still in second place to the HDZ but in a much stronger position as the official opposition party.

For the first time the party did well in the presidential elections of 2010, when their candidate, Ivo Josipović, won on the second round runoff taking 60.26% of the vote.

In 2010 the SDP formed a political alliance with three other parties, which became known as the Kukuriku coalition, with the intention of running jointly in the 2011 general election.

The Social Democratic Party of Croatia is affiliated to the Socialist International and is an associate member of the Party of European Socialists.

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