JUNE 2 2009 14:10h

Suica: Not Even Tudjman Got as Many Votes as I Did

Dubravka Suica




Dubravka Suica says everybody conspired against her, but she can celebrate because the HDZ with her won most votes in DubrovnikÂ’s history.

DUBROVNIK, CROATIA – After seven and a half years Dubravka Suica is stepping down as mayor of Dubrovnik and in a couple of days Andro Vlahusic will take her place. The media reported that she was in tears when she heard that Vlahusic won in the second round of the local elections and photographers photographed her tearful eyes, but she denies it: 

‘I wasn’t crying’

- Whoever wrote that must have imagined it. I wasn’t crying. Where would I cry? Why would I cry? I have done a lot in the seven and a half years. I am aware of that and so are the citizens of Dubrovnik. That is why I got almost 10,000 votes. The HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) never received so many votes in Dubrovnik. In 1995 Tudjman got almost that many votes at the presidential elections, while at the last parliamentary elections the HDZ won 8,100 votes. The past Sunday an unexpectedly high number of people went to the polling stations, 58 percent. That great success of mine was not good for victory – Suica told us over the telephone.

Like the tears, so she denied that she will be punished by HDZ president and Prime Minister Ivo Sanader for having lost the elections.

- He said that in as electoral tensions were high. We are constantly in contact.

However, when asked what the prime minister said to her after she lost the elections, she avoided responding:

- I told you, we are constantly in contact!

In the city opposition, in parliament ruling party 

Suica said she will not have a farewell party for city employees with whom she cooperated for almost two mandates.

- We are not saying farewell because I’m staying in the city as an alderwoman. It can only be thanks – Suica said.

Even though she speaks out bravely and is evidently trying not to show any sign of weakness, her voice still resounds with bitterness. She says that DubrovnikÂ’s new mayor is a big demagogue, which the citizens of Dubrovnik will see for themselves.

- His demagogy is a fairytale from which the citizens of Dubrovnik will wake up like Sleeping Beauty. As an opposition’s member of the City Council, I will keep track of his unfulfilled promises. For example, he said that on the first day after the elections he would hire 30 young people. He didn’t. In parliament, I will be an MP of the ruling party – Suica said about her future job.

‘They were all against meÂ’ 

She is dismissing talk that the citizens of Dubrovnik were so dissatisfied with her way of running the city, which is why they turned out at the second round of the elections in such large numbers. She believes that she did not stand a chance because a large bloc was formed against her. Of the HDZ’s coalition partners on the national level, the only party that stood by her was the Croatian Peasants’ Party (HSS), but not all the way, she says. A part of the HSS membership turned their backs on her because of Vid Bogdanovic whom she dismissed seven and a half years ago, she said. Other HDZ’s partners also turned their backs on her – the Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS), Croatian Party of Rights (HSP), Croatian Pensioners’ Party (HSU), alongside Vlahusic’s Croatian People’s Party (HNS) and the Social Democratic party (SDP) which supported him, as well as the independent lists of Marija Delija and Pere Vican and some other informal groups of citizens.

- Along with all of them, the most influential in that bloc was the local weekly ‘Dubrovacki vjesnik’ led by Vjera Suman. It was a very large bloc against me and my colleagues, so victory escaped us, but we were moral victors. We won 45 percent of votes, although everybody conspired against us. If we did not win this time, we will the next time. We will serve the city from the opposition bench honourably. Had Pero Vican joined us, we would have won. But he didn’t want to create a coalition with us, even though he is the HDZ’s coalition partner on the county level. So he covered himself on both fronts – Suica said.

No help from womenÂ’s associations either Pixsell-.--.-

Like many other people during these elections, she also complained about a badly managed campaign. She even believes that the GONG association’s appeals to citizens helped her to lose. They said: “Vote for the mayor, vote for the best man” and she believes they were incorrect because they used the male gender. She thinks they should have read: “Vote for the mayor/mayoress, vote for the best man/woman”.

In her complaining “everybody turned their backs on me”, she did not fail to mention even women’s associations. She turned to them for support after insulting posters with her nude photos were posted up on the day of the first round of elections.

- Not one association reacted. Had it been Vesna Pusic, the whole of Croatia would have reacted – Suica said angrily.