chapter  2
Transition to democracy
Pages 30

The suppression of the Croatian national movement after 1971 had ushered in a long period of political quiescence during which Croatia became known as the ‘silent republic’. But in 1989, partly inspired by the development of multiparty democracy in neighbouring Slovenia, new political parties began to be established. As in other post-communist countries, a plethora of parties emerged to contest the first democratic elections in living memory. Many of these parties were based around personalities, rather than identifiable interest groups. But there was only one key issue which dominated political debate – the issue of nationalism and whether Croatia should seek independence, and only four serious parties which contested the elections. Some of these parties were founded by politicians who were veterans of the Croatian Spring events of 1971, and some of the leading political figures had been imprisoned at that time. But the radically different orientations of the parties which were established indicated the different paths which each had taken in the intervening twenty years.