Party of Rights
|Founded||26 June 1861|
|Dissolved||6 January 1929|
Croatian Party of Rights (1991–present)
|Newspaper||Hrvatsko pravo (Croatian Right)|
|Slogan||Bog i Hrvati (God and the Croats)|
The Party of Rights (Croatian: Stranka prava), and its best known faction the Pure Party of Rights (Čista stranka prava), was an influential Croatian political party in the 19th and 20th centuries. The right or rights in the party's name refer to the idea of Croatian national and ethnic rights, which was central to the party's ideology. Numerous modern Croatian and Bosnian Croat political parties claim lineage from it.
Kingdom of Croatia
The Party of Rights was founded on 26 June 1861 when Ante Starčević and Eugen Kvaternik first presented the policies of the "Party of Rights" to the Croatian Parliament. They called for greater Croatian autonomy and self-rule at a time when Croatia was divided into several crownlands within the Habsburg Monarchy.
In early October 1871, Kvaternik and several other Party members disavowed the official party position, which advocated a political solution, and instead launched the Rakovica Revolt. The rebels declared the following aims:
- freedom of the Croatian people from Austrian and Magyar (Hungarian) oppression
- proclamation of an independent Croatia
- equality under law
- municipal self-government
- abolition of the Military Frontier and introduction of free counties
- respect for both religions in love and unity
The rebels also sought to encourage participation of Orthodox Serbs in the revolt, and some of them did, but the uprising was soon crushed by the authorities. Most of the rebels were killed, including Kvaternik.
The Party ran in the Croatian parliamentary by-election, 1883 and the Croatian parliamentary election, 1884. In late 19th and early 20th century, the party underwent various changes in membership and policy, as different factions splintered and reconciled over time. These factions often clashed over who best represented Croatian state rights.
During the 1895 visit of Emperor Franz Joseph to Zagreb, a flag-burning incident happened, that was disavowed by the party leader Fran Folnegović. However, Ante Starčević disagreed, and he and his followers, notably Eugen Kumičić and Josip Frank (a Jewish convert to Catholicism), formed the first Pure Party of Rights (Croatian: čista stranka prava). Starčević died in 1896, and was succeeded by Josip Frank under whose leadership the party became fixated on anti-Serb sentiment.
In the Croatian parliamentary election, 1897, both Parties ran. In 1902, the two Parties reconciled; however, in 1905 the leadership of the party, led by Frano Supilo, merged into the Croat-Serb Coalition, and the Pure Party of Rights was formed once again. Starčević's Party of Rights participated in the 1908 Croatian parliamentary election. The next year, in 1909, the Pure Party of Rights itself splintered, as Mile Starčević, Ante Pavelić and others accused Frank of consorting with Levin Rauch. The dissidents formed Starčević's Party of Rights. Both the Starčević and the Frank Party of Rights participated in the Croatian parliamentary election, 1910. In 1911, Frank died, and the two factions merged into the latter. In 1913, the Pure Party of Rights was formed by old supporters of Frank, this time led by Aleksandar Horvat. Both Parties participated in the Croatian parliamentary election, 1913.
Kingdom of Dalmatia
After World War I
The Croatian Party of Rights welcomed the dissolution of Austria-Hungary in the wake of World War I as a means toward achieving Croatian independence, through the creation of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. In October 1918, Party of Rights announced their dismissal. However, just one month later, party's activity was renewed when the Business Committee of the Party held a session on 28 November 1918, announcing the renewal of party's activity and their goal to save national and state individuality. When the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs proclaimed its unification with Kingdom of Serbia on 1 December 1918, Party of Rights organized a protest. On 1 March 1919, the same day the Temporary National Representation met without them present, the Party of Rights changed its name to Croatian Party of Rights.
In their program from March 1919, members of the party made a plea for Croatian independence based on the right to self-determination of all peoples. In this program, the Party of Rights emphasized their republicanism as opposed to the monarchism of House of Karađorđević, whose rule was accepted by all Croatian politicians, except Stjepan Radić's Croatian Peasant Party. Their main goal were the ideas of Ante Starčević for an independent Croatian state, and the "Croatian State Right" (hrvatsko državno pravo) was their main argument for achieving this goal. According to the concept of the "Croatian State Right", they expressed a need for unification of all Croat lands, including Bosnia and Herzegovina. The program was signed by President of the Party of Rights, dr. Vladimir Prebeg and Secretary of the Party, Ante Pavelić.
A unified Party of Rights participated in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes Constitutional Assembly election, 1920. The Croatian politics at the time started to be dominated by the Croatian Peasant Party, but in 1921, the Croatian parties started to form the Croatian National Representation (Croatian Bloc) that included the Party of Rights. Stjepan Radić and other coalition leaders ejected the Party of Rights from the coalition by the end of 1922.
The Party of Rights ran standalone in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes parliamentary election, 1923. It did not enter the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes parliamentary election, 1925, but did join the Bloc again the same year. The Party of Rights cooperated with Stjepan Radić as part of the Croatian Bloc, composed of the Croatian Republican Peasant Party, Croatian Union and the Party of Rights.
The Party of Rights alone was unable to influence the majority of Croats, as their main supporters were a small number of middle class citizens, the majority of whom lived in Zagreb, while Stjepan Radić dominated among Croats elsewhere. Within this bloc, Party of Rights opposed Serbian nationalist hegemony and centralism. Sometimes they objected to Radić's readiness to come to an understanding with the Serbian side. The main vehicle of the Party of Rights was the concept of the Croatian Right (Hrvatsko pravo), which made the idea of Yugoslavism unsustainable, assessing it as misconception and the main obstacle to Croatian independence.
Nevertheless, the leaders of the Party of Rights had established contacts with the People's Radical Party in Belgrade and occasionally fought for their own particular interests. In 1924–25, this controversial relationship became public, particularly as the party's then-vice-president Mirko Košutić publicly accused the rest of the party leadership of colluding with the government of Nikola Pašić against the interests of the Croatian Bloc.
In 1929, the king of Yugoslavia instituted the January 6th Dictatorship. He banned all political parties, and the militant wing of the Party of Rights went underground to organize the Ustaše movement, led by former party secretary Ante Pavelić, whose wing of the party was the most staunchly anti-Serb.
The eponymous Croatian Party of Rights, founded in 1990, claims lineage from the original Party of Rights. Since 1990, several splinter parties have been founded that claim the same:
- Croatian Pure Party of Rights,
- Croatian Party of Rights 1861,
- Autochthonous Croatian Party of Rights,
- Croatian Party of Rights dr. Ante Starčević,
- Croatian Party of Rights of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
- Party of Croatian Right,
- Party of Rights of Bosnia and Herzegovina 1861,
- STARČEVIĆ, Govori, 229.-230., 299.
- Djela Dra Ante Starčevića, II., 38.-39.
- "Ante Starčević – otac hrvatskog nacionalizma (2/2) - Portal Hrvatskoga kulturnog vijeća". Hkv.hr. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
- Stephen Richards Graubard (1999). A New Europe for the Old?. Transaction Publishers. p. 59. ISBN 978-1-4128-1617-5. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
Under Josip Frank, who carried the rightists into a new era, the party became obsessively anti-Serbian.
- Matković 2002, p. 10.
- Matković, Hrvoje (1962). "Veze između frankovaca i radikala od 1922–1925" (PDF). Historical Journal (in Croatian). Croatian Historical Society. 3 (15): 41–59. ISSN 0351-2193. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
- Bernd Jürgen Fischer (2007). Balkan Strongmen: Dictators and Authoritarian Rulers of South Eastern Europe. Purdue University Press. p. 208. ISBN 978-1-55753-455-2. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
Pavelić belonged to the most anti-Serbian branch of the Party
- Matković, Hrvoje (2002). Povijest Nezavisne Države Hrvatske (in Croatian). Naklada Pavičić. ISBN 953-6308-39-8.