ⓘ Croatian Party of Rights


ⓘ Croatian Party of Rights

The Croatian Party of Rights is an extra-parliamentary Croatian nationalist conservative right-wing political party in Croatia. The "right" in the partys name refer to the legal and moral reasons that justify the independence and autonomy of Croatia. While the HSP has retained its old name, today it is a right-wing party with an ethnocentric platform.


1. Founding

The HSP, along with other modern Croatian parties such as Croatian Pure Party of Rights, claim legacy to the Party of Rights which was founded in 1861 and existed until 1929.


2. During the Croatian War of Independence 1991–1995

A group of people restored Croatian Party of Rights on 25 February 1990. Dobroslav Paraga, the first president of the party acknowledged the historical bounds with the older Party of Rights. Soon, the party faced splits. Kresimir Pavelic, a former secretary of the party, became president of the new Croatian Democratic Party of Rights. Some other rights parties that claimed origin from old Party of Rights appeared. Croatian Party of Rights did not participate in the Croatian parliamentary election in 1990, which helped Croatian Democratic Union HDZ to win more votes.

HSPs political appeal and strength were at peak during the 1991-92 when Croatian Defence Forces, a military wing of the HSP, took heavy burden of defence of Croatia. Paraga was the champion of the Croatian will for freedom and independence. Paraga harshly and openly criticized Franjo Tudjman for his cooperation with Serbia and the conflict with Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The HSP used the writings of Ante Starcevic and the writings of Ustasa ideologues such as Mile Budak to argue that Tudjman was not radical enough in his defence of the Croatian state.

The ruling HDZ cooperated with the HSP until the fall of Vukovar, after which the leaders of the HSP and HOS were imprisoned for "terrorist activities" and "obstruction of democratically elected government". Paraga and the Croatian Party of Rights appeared in front of a military tribunal on allegations of insubordination. They were later released. Paragas main political and electoral platform was the creation of a Greater Croatia and the total defeat of the Serbian aggressor. In the Croatian parliamentary election held in 1992, HDZ lost 7% of votes in favor of the Party of Rights.

One of the partys first post-communist leaders, Ante Paradzik was a political dissident during the former Yugoslavia when he was a student leader of the Croatian Spring, but he was killed during the war by assassination. Paraga found himself in a power struggle with his deputy, Anto Dapic. Paraga and Dapic fought a legal battle for the right to use the party name, a dispute that Paraga eventually lost. Paraga later formed the Croatian Party of Rights 1861 HSP 1861 but by this time he was already politically marginalized.

On 17 September 1993, the leaders of the three rights parties held a meeting in Kutina and began preparations for a new union on a broad common rights program. The initiative for the meeting came from the new leaders of the HSP, Anto Dapic and Boris Kandare, who invited leaders of the Croatian Pure Party of Rights and the Croatian National Democratic League but the meeting was unsuccessful, and those parties are still acting separately. During the parliamentary election in 1995, HSP lost popularity due to bad situation in the party in favor of HDZ.


3. Post Croatian War of Independence

The long-time president of modern HSP was Anto Dapic. His political reputation was severely tarnished after the media found out that he cheated to obtain his first post-graduate degree in law at the University of Split, in collusion with Boris Kandare, a senior member of his party and professor at the Law Faculty. He was also publicly accused of faking injuries to obtain the status of a war veteran. Despite these revelations, Dapics career as head of the HSP was unaffected. Even after the party was left by many and it had terrible results losing seven out of eight seats from 2003 on the Croatian elections in 2007, he remained as head of the party he temporarily resigned, but in less than few weeks he has withdrawn his resignation.

At the 2003 Croatian parliamentary election, the party – in an alliance with Medimurje Party Medimurska stranka, Zagorje Democratic Party Zagorska demokratska stranka and non-partisan Slaven Letica – won 6.4% of the popular vote and 8 out of 151 seats, all for the HSP and Slaven Letica.

In August 2005, the Croatian Democratic Republican Party Croatian: Hrvatska demokratska republikanska stranka, HDRS, a right-wing political party established on 21 October 2000, by merger of three smaller right-wing parties, merged into the Croatian Party of Rights.

The first president of HDRS was Josko Kovac. In September 2007, prominent members Miroslav Rozic and Tonci Tadic left the party. In November at the 2007 Croatian parliamentary election, the party suffered a setback, as it won 3.5% of the popular vote and a single seat in Sabor. After the 2009 Croatian local elections, which werent particularly successful for the party either, turmoil in the party leadership escalated when a faction led by former representatives Ruza Tomasic and Pero Kovacevic formed a splinter "Croatian Party of Rights dr. Ante Starcevic".

At the party convention held on 7 November 2009, Dapic officially stepped down, allowing a new leader to be elected by party members. Daniel Srb defeated two other candidates to become the new president of the party. Croatian Party of Rights announced that during the Croatian parliamentary election in 2011 holders of their list in VII Electoral District primary Lika and Gorski Kotar would be exclusively women.

The party, for the first time, didnt win any parliamentary seats in the 2011 Croatian parliamentary election, which led to a crisis in Party of Rights; leaders of the Dalmatian branch of the party called for resignation of honorary president Anto Dapic. The president of the HSP in Split, Hrvoje Tomasevic, asked for Dapics resignation from politics and election in the party. He was supported by the president of the HSP in Dubrovnik, Denis Seselj. This appeal resulted in Dapics resignation from party politics.

On 28 January 2013, the Presidency of the Croatian Party of Rights expelled its former honorary president Dapic from the party. Srb, the partys president, said that Dapic expelled as he broke his promise that he wouldnt be active in politics. Dapic said that he was shocked by the decision.


4. Election history


The following is a summary of the partys results in legislative elections for the Croatian Parliament. The "Total votes" and "Percentage" columns include sums of votes won by pre-election coalitions HSP had been part of and the "Total seats" column includes sums of seats won by HSP in election constituencies plus representatives of ethnic minorities affiliated with HSP.


The following is a list of presidential candidates endorsed by HSP in elections for President of Croatia.


5. Bibliography

  • Stallaerts, Robert 2010. Historical dictionary of Croatia. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-271-01810-0.
  • Ramet, Sabrina P. 1999. The radical right in Central and Eastern Europe since 1989. The Pennsylvania University Press. ISBN 0-271-01810-0.