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Original scientific paper

The Presidentialisation of Croatian Parties: the CDU’s Case

Dario Nikić Čakar ; Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

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The author analyses the transformation of the Croatian Democratic Union (Hrvatska demokratska zajednica; HDZ) into a type of a presidentialised party, which has arisen as a new pattern of party organisation within the broader process of the presidentialisation of politics. The presidentialisation of political parties can be observed in all forms of party organisation: party head offices, the party in the government, and in a parliamentary party faction. In the first place, the author gives an outline of the emergence and development of the CDU up to 2000 and Ivo Sanader taking the leadership of the party, identifying this year as a demarcation point of democratic transformation in Croatia and arguing why he will not include the development of the CDU’s party organisation prior to 2000 in his research. Then he dissolves the contingent and structural changes within the party and gives plausible grounds for them by theoretical and methodological tools of the concept of presidentialisation. In observing the processes at all three levels of democratic politics, he seeks to establish whether the CDU fits into the pattern of a presidentialised party. The analysis has shown that the CDU can be assigned to the type of a presidential party, which has emerged as a result of the tendential presidentialisation of party structure. The applied empirical indicators reveal that the CDU has turned into the type of a presidentialised party at all three levels of democratic politics: the party organisation, electoral process and executive branch of government.


Croatian Democratic Union (CDU), political party, Croatian party system, presidentialisation, Ivo Sanader

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