Croatian Party of Pensioners

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Croatian Party of Pensioners
Leader Silvano Hrelja
Slogan The party of your trust
Founded 26 April 1996 (1996-04-26)
Headquarters Zagreb
Membership  (2013) 20,800[1]
Ideology Pensioners's politics (Single-issue politics)
National affiliation Kukuriku coalition
International affiliation None
European affiliation None
Colours Blue, Red, White
4 / 151
European Parliament
0 / 11
Politics of Croatia
Political parties

The Croatian Party of Pensioners (Croatian: Hrvatska stranka umirovljenika, HSU) is a Croatian political party. It is currently led by Silvano Hrelja.

When the Party was founded, few people took it seriously and many commentators speculated that the ultimate purpose of HSU was take away pensioners' votes from rejuvenated SDP and thus help ruling HDZ remain in power. However, the Party gradually built its organisation throughout the country and slowly rose in popularity due to both HDZ and left-centre cabinets of Ivica Račan refusing to honour a Constitutional Court verdict that ordered the government to pay back pensions that had been denied in early 1990s.

At the Croatian parliamentary election, 2003, the party won 4.0% of the popular vote and 3 out of 151 seats entering parliament for the first time. This was the biggest surprise of the election because they used very little propaganda to promote the party. They got more than 5% of the votes in 3 electoral districts and in 4 of them between 4% and 5% of the votes.

After the elections HSU has agreed to support Ivo Sanader as the new prime minister and provided the necessary votes for HDZ and its allies to form a majority in the Croatian Parliament. This de facto coalition remained in place despite the fact the HSU supported Stipe Mesić against HDZ candidate Jadranka Kosor in the 2005 presidential election. The HDZ government established a scheme to pay back the old pension debt.

HSU gained much notoriety after local and regional elections in May 2005 when many of its members got elected on left-centre election tickets only to support HDZ and right-wing parties during the forming of coalition governments.

At the Croatian parliamentary election, 2007, the party won 101,091 votes and 4.1% of the votes, but this time the electoral math (D'Hondt method) allowed them to receive only a single representative in the Parliament, Silvano Hrelja. They continued to support the government of Ivo Sanader, which in turn continued to pursue pensioner-related policies aligned with the opinion of the HSU.

A new major pensioner issue arose as the latest batches of retirees started to receive pensions calculated by the Ministry of Finance according to a newly accepted formula (referred to as "the Swiss formula" in local media). HSU insisted that these new pensions were recalculated to be equalized with the older ones.

In 2009, the economic crisis caused the government of Jadranka Kosor to start talks about extra crisis taxation and after a row with the finance minister Ivan Šuker, the HSU withdrew their support for the government.


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