Former Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) leader Branko Hrg said on Sunday that he decided to leave the HSS after the new leadership opted for a coalition with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the run-up to the snap parliamentary election on 11 September.
Hrg issued a statement saying that this was one of his toughest decisions in his long-standing political career.
Hrg anticipates that the coalition with the SDP would bring an end to the HSS in the long run, and said that concluding a pre-election with the SDP was an act of "political prostitution". Hrg also noted that the decision on the coalition would also change the HSS ideological mindset and that many grassroot members were dissatisfied but that"unfortunately, the (new party) leadership is not of that opinion".
On the other hand, the HSS leader Kreso Beljak, who replaced Hrg a few months ago, said in an interview with Hina that the coalition agreement signed on Saturday was agreement on "a broad coalition of parties belonging to the centre and to left of centre and to right of centre."
The agreement was signed by the leaders: Zoran Milanovic of the SDP, Beljak of the (HSS), Ivan Vrdoljak of the Croatian People's Party (HNS), and Silvano Hrelja of the Croatian Pensioners' Party (HSU).
I believe that instead of instability, uncertainty and all other things that happened in the past 10 months, voters will choose "stability, order and future of our children", Beljak said.
"We signed the agreement before the election as we find it fairer than after the election," he told Hina, explaining that as an attempt to avoid scenarios such were in the wake of the November 7 parliamentary election.
The HSS under the helm of Hrg was a junior partner in the Croatian Democratic Union-led (HDZ) Patriotic Coalition, that made up the government together with the Bridge reformist party, That government was ousted at the the HDZ-sponsored no-confidence vote in the Tihomir Oreskovic cabinet.
Beljak declined to reveal the rankings of the HSS candidates on the future coalition lists for the snap election, explaining that this would be decided by the party's Main Committee.
Asked about his position in the future government provided that it is formed by the SDP-led People's Coalition, Beljak said that he would like to be engaged in "an inter-party team to address the demographic issues".