The deputy mayor of Vukovar, Srdjan Milakovic, announced on Saturday that a new Serb party would be established in Croatia after several senior Serb officials met in Zagreb on Friday and expressed their dissatisfaction at how the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) was protecting the interests of the ethnic Serbs in the country.
The meeting expressed unanimous support for the idea to establish, as soon as possible, a new political platform to ensure better protection of the rights and interests of the Serbs in Croatia and to restore trust in Serb political representatives, according to a brief statement signed by Milakovic, who was expelled from SDSS membership last year.
The meeting was attended by the deputy heads of Karlovac and Pozega-Slavonia counties, the deputy mayors of Vukovar, Beli Manastir and Pakrac, and the head of Trpinja municipality. The deputy mayor of Ogulin and chairmen of several Serb councils expressed their support for the initiative.
"The reason for this meeting is our concern about the situation in which the Serb community in Croatia is and the fact that the current representatives of the SDSS, burdened with problems within the party, are unable to protect the Serbs' interests," the statement said.
Milakovic told Hina that for some time now there had been smouldering discontent on the ground over how the SDSS was dealing with the problems of the Serbs in Croatia, accusing SDSS officials of looking after their own interests and maintaining the financial status of some organisations, such as the Serb National Council (SNV).
"That would not be a problem if the money which those organisations receive reached the Serbs at local levels, but that is not happening," Milakovic said, adding that the SDSS had failed to meet the Serbs' expectations and was severely compromised by supporting certain political parties.
"We are aware of the fact that if we want to change the present situation we must organise ourselves politically and it is only a matter of time before we do that," Milakovic said, adding that this should happen as soon as possible so that the new party could prepare for local elections next year and possibly even for new parliamentary elections.