In City of Knin SDSS, Serb ethnic party, won 8 out of 17 seats.
It was expected that SDSS will form the joint government with HDZ, because SDSS provides 3 very precious votes for Sanader and his razor-thin majority in Sabor.
So, many were surprised to find HDZ opting to form coalition with two Croatian right wing parties – HB and HSP.
On the other hand, this isn’t much of surprise, since HDZ needs HSP votes in order to either win or maintain power in large number of counties, cities and municipalities.
Leaders of HSP, which floated idea of forming new national coalition with HDZ, are delighted with the prospect.
Sanader, on the other hand, is forced to choose between two unpleasant alternatives. If HDZ goes in bed with HSP, this will have negative consequences for Croatian negotiation position towards EU. If Sanader opts to keep distance towards HSP, he risks losing many local communities, HDZ rank-and-file and, ultimately, his own leadership position.
If Knin is to be taken as a lithmus test, Sanader chose HSP. And he probably chose a good spin in order to explain this to his EU cheerleaders – either they should keep Carla del Ponte and ICTY off Croatian back or they could risk having far right and Eurosceptics instead of good European like Sanader to negotiate with in near future.