Croatian Independent Democrats

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Croatian Independent Democrats (Croatian: Hrvatski nezavisni demokrati or HND) was a political party in Croatia.

History[edit]

Its founders were members of moderate faction within Croatian Democratic Union. In 1993 their unofficial champion Josip Manolić, former right-hand man of President Franjo Tuđman, was becoming demoted and increasingly marginalised, while Gojko Šušak, powerful defence minister and leader of hardline nationalist faction, was winning Tuđman's favour. Following the open rift between the two, Tuđman in Spring of 1994 tried to replace Manolić from the position of House of Chambers speaker. Manolić, however, preempted this by talking a number of HDZ representatives to support him together with opposition. Soon, he was joined by House of Representatives speaker Stjepan Mesić and two of them announced split from HDZ and formation of new party. They accused Tuđman of embracing authoritarianism, extreme nationalism and irredentist policies towards Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was, in their mind, betrayal of founding principles of HDZ. From that point onward, HND tried to describe itself as a "genuine" HDZ.

For a while, it looked that HDZ would ultimately lose parliamentary majority, but Tuđman in the end managed to keep number of its moderates in line, thus maintaining and later solidifying his grip on power. HND nevertheless managed to replace HDZ governments on local levels, most notably in Zagreb County, an event that would eventually lead to Zagreb Crisis.

In 1995 parliamentary elections, it became apparent that HND didn't attract many of HDZ voters, while those already opposed to Tuđman overwhelmingly preferred older opposition parties. As a result, HND failed to enter Sabor. This led Mesić to leave the party and join Croatian People's Party, while Manolić began to try mending ties with HDZ. As a result, HND became marginalised.