Croatian Christian Democratic Union - Origins


The Croatian Christian Democratic Party (Hrvatska kršćanska demokratska stranka, HKDS) was created in 1989 and modelled after the Christian Democrat parties of Western Europe, although, due to specific circumstances of early 1990s Croatia, it had more right wing than centre-right rhetoric. In the Croatian parliamentary election, 1990 it joined bloc of moderate nationalists called Coalition of People's Accord. Like all parties of that bloc, it fared badly, but one year later it had ministerial post in the "National Unity" government of Franjo Gregurić. In the Croatian parliamentary election, 1992, HKDS, running on its own ticket, failed to enter Croatian Parliament, while its leader Ivan Cesar finished seventh in presidential race. This fiasco led HKDS to unite with Croatian Democratic Party (HDS). A dissident faction of the HKDS continued to operate under the party's old name.

The Croatian Democratic Party (Hrvatska demokratska stranka, HDS) was a right-wing party that was among the first to be founded after the arrival of multi-party democracy in Croatia. Led by veteran Communist-era dissident Marko Veselica, HDS was supposed to be the focal point for the most radical Croatian nationalists. This spot was, however, taken by Franjo Tuđman and his Croatian Democratic Union. HDS instead joined moderate Coalition of People's Accord and, consequently, fared badly in the Croatian parliamentary election, 1990. After, HDS tried to live to its radical reputation by harsh criticism of Tuđman's government for the perceived appeasement of Serbia and Yugoslav People's Army during the opening stages of war. When the war escalated in Summer of 1991, HDS was nevertheless admitted into the "National Unity" government of Franjo Gregurić. In less than a year, HDS lost reputation of most radical Croatian party to Croatian Party of Rights. This reflected on 1992 presidential and parliamentary elections, which led HDS to merge with Croatian Christian Democratic Party (HKDS).

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