Croatian ruling party expels ex-PM from membership

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ivo Sanader in April 2009

Croatia's ruling Democratic Union (HDZ) party expelled the former prime minister Ivo Sanader following his political comeback Sunday. The decision was made after a day-long intra-party meeting led by the party's president and current prime minister Jadranka Kosor, who accused him of trying to split the party and thus make a crisis in the government majority.

Of twenty two members of the party presidency, 16 voted for expulsion, three were against (Luka Bebić, Mario Zubović and Damir Polančec) and two abstained (Bianca Matković and Petar Selem). Sanader himself was not present at the meeting.

Mr. Sanader declared he would be returning to a more active role in politics, stating that his decision to withdraw was a mistake, and that the HDZ is a "winning party and not a party that wins 12% of the vote", a remark made in connection with the first round of the presidential election held one week before, in which HDZ's candidate didn't score well. He was supported by a dozen HDZ MPs, including the president of the parliament, Bebić. Several of those MPs later disclaimed any association with Sanader and claimed they were misled.

Sanader quit from his PM position in July last year, vowing to quit politics for good, also. He held the post since the 2003 parliamentary elections, and it was during his government that Croatia entered NATO. His government was accused of corruption, however.