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The Social Democratic Party of Croatia (SDP; ) is the main center-left, social democratic political party in Croatiamarker. It currently holds 56 seats out of 153 in the Croatian Parliamentmarker.


The party's first and longest-serving president was Ivica Račan. The current president is Zoran Milanović, elected on June 2, 2007 following Račan's death.

The main bodies of the party are:
  • president, deputy president, vice-presidents, secretary
  • the head committee ( )
  • the executive committee (Izvršni odbor)
  • the supervisory committee (Nadzorni odbor)

In addition to these, the party is composed of local branches. There are also three topical groups:
  • youth forum
  • women's forum
  • seniors' forum

The party is governed by the Statute (Statut). The current version was ratified at the 9th party convention held on May 8, 2004.



The party evolved from the League of Communists of Croatia ( ). Its delegation left the 14th congress of the Communist Parties of Yugoslavia together with the Slovenians due to an inability to cooperate with the Serbian Communist Party led by Slobodan Milošević. Yugoslaviamarker ceased to be a socialist state shortly thereafter, and so the party added Party of Democratic Changes ( ) to its name. In 1990 it participated in the multi-party elections of April 1990. SKH-SDP lost those elections but remained in parliamentary opposition.

On April 30, 1994 they merged with the Social Democrats of Croatia (SDH), led by Antun Vujić, to form the Social Democratic Party of Croatia (conveniently abbreviated to "SDP"). Ivica Račan remained the party's president.

2000-2003 government

The party formed a pre-election coalition with the Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) and proceeded to win the January 2000 parliamentary elections. Račan, as the leader of the strongest party, became the prime minister of Croatia. The coalition government included ministers from SDP and HSLS, plus the coalition of Croatian Peasants Party, the Liberal Party, Croatian People's Party, and the Istrian Democratic Assembly.

The SDP-led government, though with several changes, remained in power until the next elections in November 2003. They formed pre-election coalitions with Libra (a dissenting faction of HSLS) and the Liberal Party, but failed to secure a new parliamentary majority, even with the extended coalition of 2000. It won 34 out of 151 seats.

Opposition since 2004

In the Croatian presidential election, 2005 SDP supported Stjepan Mesić, who won the elections and became president.

For the 2007 elections, SDP prepeared an economic strategy by previously non-partisan economist dr. Ljubo Jurčić. In 2007, the party was hit by the death of Ivica Račan, and had to elect a new party leader on a special convention. Zoran Milanović won, beating acting chairwoman Željka Antunović, Zagrebmarker Mayor Milan Bandić and former foreign minister Tonino Picula.

During the electoral campaign, the party's prime minister candidate Ljubo Jurčić was substituted in a hurry by the new party president Zoran Milanović, who was at the time believed to be more popular and better accepted by possible coalition partners. However, this did not produce the desired effect for SDP, as they finished a close second, behind HDZ. It might have won the domestic election, but as SDP doesn't participate in diaspora elections, it lost in the overall tally. It failed to assemble a governing coalition, though it positioned itself as a major opposition party.

In the subsequent Croatian local elections of June 2009, the party lost also the majority of votes and the most of the županije, but managed to gain some majors in important Croatian cities, due to the new electoral system where majors and county heads are elected individually (even if representatives of parties).

In preparation for the Croatian presidential election, 2009-2010, SDP held an internal election for the first time, in which party members selected between Ljubo Jurčić and Ivo Josipović. Josipović won by some two thirds of the vote, and also became the first major candidate.


SDP tends to win more votes in the urban population and is seen as the primary alternative to the long-ruling HDZ, but many in the Croatian society still see it mainly as the heir of the former Communist party.

See also

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