Croatian People's Party – Liberal Democrats

The Croatian People's Party – Liberal Democrats (Croatian: Hrvatska narodna stranka – Liberalni demokrati or HNS – LD) is a social-liberal[3] political party in Croatia.

Croatian People's Party – Liberal Democrats
Hrvatska narodna stranka – Liberalni demokrati
AbbreviationHNS-LD, HNS
PresidentStjepan Čuraj[1]
FounderSavka Dabčević-Kučar
Founded13 October 1990 (1990-10-13)
Membership (2013)45,005[2]
IdeologySocial liberalism[3]
Political positionCentre[4] to centre-left[5]
Regional affiliationLiberal South East European Network
European affiliationAlliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
European Parliament groupRenew Europe
Colours  Gold, Orange
1 / 151
European Parliament
0 / 12
County Prefects
0 / 21
1 / 128
Official website

As of April 2015 HNS forms a parliamentary club with 5 members in the Croatian Parliament, making them the fourth largest party in Croatia in terms of parliament representation.[6] HNS is a full member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party. Since 17 December 2017, the party's leader has been Ivan Vrdoljak.


The People's Party in Croatia was originally formed in 1841, during the period of Croatian romantic nationalism. The Croatian People's Party describes the events of the Illyrian movement since 1835 as its history.[7][clarification needed]. After 1861 the People's Party was known as the People's Liberal Party, its main splinter party was the Independent People's Party (1880–1903) which became more pro-autonomist, while the "old" People's Party developed into "party of the Settlement" having collaborated with the pro-Hungarian Unionist Party (known as the People's Constitutional Party). The Progressive Party (1904–1906) and the Croatian People's Progressive Party (1906–1910) were also liberal parties in the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia as an autonomous part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

In 1860 the national liberals formed in the Dalmatia (Austrian part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) the National party known also as the People's Party in Dalmatia. The party developed into a conservative party around 1889 (the National Croatian Party).

In the first Yugoslavia (1918–1941), main liberal party was the Independent Democratic Party composed by the Serbs from former Austro-Hungarian parts of the new state and Slovene centralist liberals.

During Communism in the second Yugoslavia (the Socialist Republic of Croatia, SRH), the liberal leaders of the League of Communists of Croatia were Savka Dabčević-Kučar and Miko Tripalo, who participated in the Croatian Spring of 1971.

Modern partyEdit

The modern Croatian People's Party was formed in late 1990 by members of the Coalition of People's Accord (Croatian: Koalicija narodnog sporazuma) which had participated on the first multi-party election of 1990, led by Savka Dabčević-Kučar, Miko Tripalo, Dragutin Haramija and others.

The HNS remained a small opposition party. In the 1992 election they won 6.7% of the vote and attained 6 seats in the Croatian Parliament. In 1994, construction entrepreneur Radimir Čačić became party chairman. In the 1995 election they won 2 seats as part of an election alliance.

In the January 2000 election they formed a four-party coalition with HSS, LS and IDS, which together won 25 seats in the Parliament, two of whom were HNS representatives. As a result, the party participated in the 2000–2003 government of Ivica Račan through the minister of public works, construction and reconstruction Radimir Čačić. A few weeks later, the coalition's candidate and HNS member Stjepan Mesić was elected President of the Republic.

Also in 2000, HNS elected a new party chair, Zagreb University professor of sociology of politics Vesna Pusić.

In the November 2003 elections, their alliance with the Alliance of Primorje-Gorski Kotar and the Slavonia-Baranja Croatian Party won 8% of the vote and 11 out of 151 seats, 10 of them HNS representatives. However, despite significantly improved results, the party moved to the opposition.

A second element of today's People's Party, the Party of Liberal Democrats or Libra, originated in time of the Račan government when in 2002 Dražen Budiša, the leader of the Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS), pulled out of the coalition. Ten members of parliament from Budiša's party, led by Jozo Radoš, refused to bring down the government and instead split from the HSLS, forming Libra, the Party of Liberal Democrats. That party won 3 seats in the 2003 election. On 6 February 2005, most of the 1,250 representatives of HNS on its seventh convention voted to merge with Libra as the Croatian People's Party – Liberal Democrats. The total number of parliamentary seats for the party increased to 13.

In the November 2007 elections the party ran on its own and got around 7% of the vote and 7 seats in the Croatian Sabor. It remained in the opposition. In April 2008 Radimir Čačić was elected as party chair after defeating Dragutin Lesar (MP). Lesar left the party, first acting as an independent MP, but then founded a splinter party, Croatian Laburists in March 2010. Zlatko Horvat MP left the party as well.

In 2011 elections, HNS participated in centre-left Kukuriku coalition spearheaded by SDP. After the coalition won, HNS entered the cabinet and held posts of foreign relations, commerce, culture etc. Čačić was reelected as a party chairman again in March 2012. After he was sentenced to a prison term due to a traffic accident in which two people died, he resigned from the cabinet and was forced to leave the party. Vesna Pusić was elected as party president in 2013. On 21 September 2014 about 200 members from HNS Zagreb and Varaždin branches each left the party in order to form liberal and centrist People's Party - Reformists under Radimir Čačić's leadership.

HNS held the same alliance in the parliamentary elections of 2015 and 2016 as a part of SDP-led People's coalition, switching to opposition. After the party chairman Ivan Vrdoljak and the party's general board decided to enter the government with centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and support Andrej Plenkovic's cabinet in the parliament (overriding the opposition of party's Presidency), in June 2017 four MPs and the only MEP (Jozo Radoš) left the party to create left of the centre Civic Liberal Alliance. This splinter also resulted in numerous party members and branch leaders leaving the party, either to join Civic Liberal Alliance or other parties. In October 2018, MP Marija Puh left the party fraction in the parliament to join Milan Bandic's party, reducing the fraction further down to just 4 MPs.[8]

Chairpersons of the partyEdit

# Name In office
1 Savka Dabčević-Kučar 1990–1995
2 Radimir Čačić 1995–2000
3 Vesna Pusić 2000–2008
4 Radimir Čačić 2008–2013
5 Vesna Pusić 2013–2016
6 Ivan Vrdoljak 2016–2017
Predrag Štromar 2017 (Acting)
7 Ivan Vrdoljak 2017–2020
8 Predrag Štromar 2020
9 Stjepan Čuraj 2020–present

Election historyEdit


The following is a summary of the party's results in legislative elections for the Croatian parliament. The "Total votes" and "Percentage" columns include sums of votes won by pre-election coalitions HNS had been part of. After preferential votes were added to the electoral system, the votes column also includes the statistic of the total number of such votes received by candidates of HNS on coalition lists. The "Total seats" column includes sums of seats won by HNS in election constituencies plus representatives of ethnic minorities affiliated with HNS.

Election In coalition with Votes won Percentage Seats won Change Government
(Coalition totals) (HNS only)
1992 None 176,214 6.67
6 / 138
1995 HSSIDSHKDUSBHS 441,390 18.26
2 / 127
  4 Opposition
2000 HSSIDSLSASH 432,527 14.70
2 / 151
2003 PGSSBHS 198,781 8.00
10 / 151
  8 Opposition
2007 None 168,440 6.80
7 / 153
  3 Opposition
2011 SDP–IDS–HSU 958,312 40.00
14 / 151
  7 Government
2015 SDP–HSU–HL–AHSS–ZS 744,507
9 / 151
  5 Opposition
2016 SDP–HSU–HSS 636,960[10]
9 / 151
  Opposition (2016–17)
Government (2017–)
2020 None 21,725 1.30
1 / 151
  8 government support

European ParliamentEdit

Election In coalition with Votes won
(Coalition totals)
Percentage Total seats won
(HNS only)
April 2013 SDP–HSU 237,778 32.07%
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May 2014 SDP–HSU-IDS-SDSS 275,904 29.93%
1 / 11
May 2019 None 27,958 2.60%
0 / 12


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

Election Candidate First round result Second round result
Votes Rank Votes Result
1992 (Aug) Savka Dabčević-Kučar (HNS) 6.0% Third
1997 (Jun) Vlado Gotovac (HSLS) 17.6% Third
2000 (Jan–Feb) Stjepan Mesić (HNS) 41.1% First 56.0% Won
2005 (Jan) Stjepan Mesić (Ind.) 48.9% First 65.9% Won
2009–10 (Dec–Jan) Vesna Pusić (HNS) 7.3% Fifth
2014–15 (Dec–Jan) Ivo Josipović (Ind.) 38.5% First 49.3% Lost

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "HNS-ovke i HNS-ovci su odlučili. Novi predsjednik HNS-a je Stjepan Čuraj!". (in Croatian). 12 December 2020. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  2. ^ "HNS Vesne Pusić ima više članova od Milanovićeva SDP-a". Večernji list (in Croatian). 10 October 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b Close, Caroline (12 February 2019). "The liberal party family ideology: Distinct, but diverse". In Close, Caroline; van Haute, Emilie (eds.). Liberal Parties in Europe. Routledge. p. 339. ISBN 9781351245487.
  4. ^ a b Gladoic, Andrea. "Croatia's Largest Political Parties". Expat in Croatia. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Key Political Parties in Croatia". Balkan Insight. 27 September 2010.
  6. ^ "Hrvatski sabor - Klub zastupnika Hrvatske narodne stranke - liberalnih demokrata". Archived from the original on 2018-07-12. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  7. ^ "Povijest - 19 stoljeće" [History - 19th century]. (in Croatian). Croatian People's Party - Liberal Democrats. Archived from the original on 2015-01-04. Retrieved 2015-01-04.
  8. ^ "Bivša HNS-ovka prelazi Mikiju, sad će imati čak 10 zastupnika" (in Croatian). Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  9. ^ Suzana Barilar (13 November 2015). "Preferencijalni glasovi". Jutarnji list (in Croatian).
  10. ^ "Uživo-rezultati izbora",, 12.9.2016.
  11. ^ "Posavec: Za HNS je glasalo 127 tisuća ljudi, zaradili smo 11 mandata". Faktograf. 16 September 2016.

External linksEdit