Croatia’s Largest Political Parties

For those living in Croatia, or even if you are a Croatian living abroad, it is important to know who is in control of the government. More specifically, it is important to know which political parties there are, what they believe in, which policies and platforms they promote, and how much control they have at the state level.

Like many parliamentary systems, Croatia has numerous political parties, but there are 5 with the most power. Those political parties in order of current control are:

  1. HDZ
  2. SDP
  3. MOST
  4. HNS
  5. HSS

In this post, we’ll cover each of these political parties in greater to detail to give you a high-level view of what they stand for.

Croatia’s 5 Largest Political Parties

HDZ, one of Croatia's top political parties
Image by Nacional

1. Hrvatska demokratska zajednica (Croatian Democratic Union) – HDZ

HDZ is the most influential political party in Croatia and the strongest parliamentary party in Croatia’s parliament, called “Sabor“. The party was founded in 1989 by Franjo Tuđman, the first Croatian president, and it is a part of the European People’s Party (EPP).

HDZ incorporates Christian democracy and Catholic teaching in its political ideology. Christian democratic political ideology advocates for a commitment to social market principles and qualified interventionism. The party strongly promotes Croatian “national interests, patriotism and traditional, democratic, and universal humanistic values”.

Their ideology is merged with national conservatism, which is a variant that concentrates more on national interests and keeping cultural and ethnic identity safe from extinction. Their political ideology is infused with liberal conservatism, with an emphasis on ethical and social issues. They are in favor of the European Union, which Croatia has been a part of since 2013.

HDZ’s anthem is “Bože, čuvaj Hrvatsku” (God save Croatia!) which is a Croatian patriotic Christian song.

The party’s leader is Andrej Plenković who is the current Prime Minister of Croatia. Its former leaders were Franjo Tuđman, Vladimir Šeks, Ivo Sanader, Jadranka Kosor, and Tomislav Karamarko. HDZ won the last state elections in 2016. Their current level of political control in parliament is high.

HDZ currently controls: 55 seats out of 151 members in parliament

On the political spectrum, HDZ is: Center Right-Wing

HDZ supports:

  • Cultural and ethnic identity
  • Democratic and conservative values
  • Catholic religion
  • Patriotism
  • Tax increases
  • European Union

HDZ doesn’t support:

  • Same sex marriage and rights
  • Abortion
  • Worker’s rights
  • Environmental protection
  • Immigration
  • Gender equality


Davor Bernardić, president of Croatia's SDP political party
Image by

2. Socijaldemokratska partija Hrvatske (Social Democratic Party of Croatia – SDP)

SDP is the largest party of the Croatian center-left and the strongest political party in Croatia, next to HDZ. The SDP was formed in 1990 as the successor of the League of Communists of Croatia, the Croatian branch of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. This party governed Croatia within the Yugoslav federation since World War II.

SDP is a social-democratic party, (opposite to HDZ’s Christian democracy) whose political ideology is antifascism, pro-Europeanism, and social liberalism.. On the political spectrum, they fall in the center-left, also referred to as moderate-left politics. They believe in working within the proven system of social justice and promote social equality and equal opportunity.

SDP fights against the wide gap between the poor and rich and promotes the equality of workers and laws against child labor. SDP is in favor of minimum wage laws.

Their leader is Davor Bernardić, and their former leaders were Zoran Milanović, Željka Antunović, and Ivica Račan.

SDP currently controls: 34 seats out of 151 members in parliament

On the political spectrum, SDP is: Center Left

SDP supports:

  • Keeping social democracy
  • European Union
  • Social justice and equality
  • Equal opportunity
  • Worker’s rights and minimum wage
  • Right to abortion
  • Efforts to slow climate change
  • Same sex marriage and rights
  • Gender equality
  • Immigration
  • Youth employment

SDP doesn’t support:

  • Fascism
  • Xenophobia
  • Inequality
  • Marginalization of communities
Diagram of Croatia's parliament as controlled by political parties
Image by Wikipedia

3. Most nezavisnih lista  (Bridge of Independent Lists) – MOST

The political ideology of MOST is fiscal conservatism, liberal conservatism, economic liberalism, and soft Euroscepticism. They advocate low taxes, reduced government spending, and minimal government debt. They combine conservative policies with liberal stances, especially on ethical and social issues.

They’re strongly influenced by liberalism, which means that they support civil rights, democracy, secularism, and freedom of speech. MOST is a relatively young political party founded in 2012 and its representative is Božo Petrov. The founders were mostly young people who were once active in different civil initiatives and associations.

MOST currently controls: 11 seats out of 151 members in parliament

On the political spectrum, MOST is: Center Right

MOST supports:

  • Liberal conservatism
  • Equal rights
  • Low taxes
  • Civil rights
  • Secularism
  • Freedom of speech
  • Efforts to slow climate change
  • Environmental protection
  • Social justice

MOST doesn’t support:

  • Right to abortion
  • Nepotism and corruption
  • High taxes
  • Government expenses and high government debts

4. Hrvatska narodna stranka – liberalni demokrati (Croatian People’s Party – Liberal Democrats) – HNS

The Croatian People’s Party has liberal political ideology along with centrist-based political views. That means that they believe there should be acceptance or support of social equality and of social hierarchy while opposing political changes, which would result in a significant shift of society either strongly to the left or the right.

Their ideology also promotes social liberalism, progressiveness, and social democracy. The party’s goal is to create and maintain a modern civil state of equally-content citizens. HNS has been a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party since 2001.

HNS currently controls: 4 seats out of 151 members in parliament

On the political spectrum, HNS is: Center

HNS supports:

  • Social equality
  • Environmental protection
  • Efforts to slow climate change
  • European Union
  • Gender equality
  • Right to abortion
  • Economic freedom

HNS doesn’t support:

5. Hrvatska seljačka stranka (Croatian Peasant Party) – HSS

The political ideology of HSS is democratic agrarianism with a mixture of left-oriented ideas.  They support liberalism with regard to constitutional freedoms, natural and civil rights of individuals and groups, and democratic decision-making as a guarantee of equality.

The Croatian Peasant Party was founded on December 22, 1904 by brothers Antun and Stjepan Radić. It is the first modern Croatian party, once supported by representatives of Croatian political and intellectual avant-garde such as Marija Jurić Zagorka, Ivan Goran Kovačić, and Dragutin Tadijanović. Their party’s representative is Krešo Beljak.

HSS currently controls: 4 seats out of 151 members in parliament

On the political spectrum, HSS is: Center-Left

HSS supports:

  • Green policy
  • Worker’s rights
  • Social responsibility
  • Rural society and agriculture,, agrarianism
  • Sustainability
  • European Union

HSS doesn’t support:

  • Fascism
  • Right to abortion – Opinions on this topic vary among members

Voting and Elections in Croatia

You can find the latest information about elections on Državno izborno povjerenstvo. Additionally, there is information about international cooperation and contact data along with the preparations for the 2019 elections on the embedded links.

We also have an extensive post on voting in Croatia include details on elections and how and when you can vote in Croatia.

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