Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Anto Đapić (b. August 22 1958) is a Croatian right-wing politician and president of the Croatian Party of Rights (HSP). He currently serves as a Representative in Croatian Parliament, post he was elected to in 1992, 1995, 2000 and 2003 election.
Đapić was born in Čaprazlije, small place near Livno in western Bosnia. His family had a history of supporting old Croatian Party of Rights, and later Ustaše regime. Therefore, when his father and uncles chose to go to West Germany on a permanent work instead of living in socialist Yugoslavia, while Anto, his mother and brother lived in Osijek, Croatia ever since 1962. Đapić considers Osijek to be his hometown.
Đapić lost a mother in a car crash when he was a teenager, so he had to do manual work while studying law at Osijek University. Đapić obtained law degree after twelve years, achieveing rather low grades.
When pluralism took over in Croatia and rest of Yugoslavia in 1989, Đapić first joined Franjo Tuđman's Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). He was one of the party's organizers in Osijek, but he left it after short time. In 1991, he joined Croatian Party of Rights (HSP), that was renewed year earlier. After assassination of Ante Paradžik , he was named party's Vice President.
Đapić was also for short period of time a commander of paramilitary units called HOS (Hrvatski obrambeni savez - Croatian Defense Alliance), that were organized by Croatian Party of Rights. They wore black uniforms like the Black Legion of the Ustaše army, and fought in Croatia and in Bosnia. Later HOS was blended with Croatian Army (in Croatia) and Croatian Defense Council (in Bosnia).
In 1993, Đapić was named president of HSP. Previous president Dobroslav Paraga claimed Đapić was illegaly elected, and he later formed new party Croatian Party of Rights 1861, that miserably failed at each parliamentary election since 1993.Đapić was less critical of President Tuđman and HDZ then Paraga, and he was considered to be their satellite.
In 1995 election, HSP won 4,8 % of vote, but after a recount, 5,01 % was claimed to be official result, which secured HSP will stay a party represented in Parlament. With war being over party took more and more criticism for its neo-ustaša views. However, HSP led by Đapić mainteined small but solid support among the voters. In 2000, this time in coalition with Croatian Christian Democratic Union (HKDU), HSP kept four Parliament seats.
Đapić led a presidential campaign same year, that failed miserably, with him finishing distant fifth.
But ever since then, Đapić and his party worked hard to change perception among voters. Extremist right-wing agenda was a bit softened.
Đapić's political reputation was severely tarnished after the media found out that he cheated to obtain his first post-graduate degree in law at the University of Split, in collusion with Boris Kandare , a senior member of his party and professor at the Law Faculty. Đapić was later legally prosecuted, and in April 2005, Split Court judge declered him not guilty on charges of fraud and abuse of power because the judge said that "copying academic material was a widespread practice" and that "there was no obvious economic gain in it for the accused".
HSP still opposes Hague War Crimes Tribunal, holds eurosceptic views and is socially very conservative. But it also takes care of economical, educational and various other problems. Therefore it won over some moderates and doubled its seat number in 2003 election.
HSP and its president are now viewed as anti-establishment solution as opposed to establishment parties like HDZ and the Social Democratic Party of Croatia.
Representative Đapić currently serves in Foreign Politics Committee. He's married with one daughter.
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