Slovenian minority member re-elected to Croatian parliament

Zagreb, 18 April - Slovenian minority member Barbara Antolić Vupora will continue to serve as MP in the Croatian parliament after she was re-elected in Wednesday's elections. She will continue her efforts for the Slovenian community in Croatia, she told the STA. Officially, the Slovenian community will be represented by Armin Hodžić, member of the Bosniak minority.

Varaždin, Croatia
Barbara Antolić Vupora, an ethnic Slovenian serving as Croatian MP.
Photo: Hina/STA
File photo

Barbara Antolić Vupora was re-elected as an MP of the Social Democratic Party of Croatia (SDP). When she was first elected in 2020, she became the first member of the Slovenian minority to enter Croatia's Sabor in its 30 year history.

Antolić Vupora is the head of the SDP branch in Varaždin, where she has also been an active member of the minority.

"I am happy that I can represent Slovenian's interests through the party," said Antolić Vupora, adding that she is often in contact with Ljubljana, the office for Slovenians abroad, the Slovenian Embassy and the Union of Slovenian Cultural Associations in Croatia.

She will continue to advocate for Slovenians in Croatia, but noted that her role will depend on whether SDP will be part of the ruling coalition or opposition.

"Hard work lies ahead and I believe much more effort will be needed also from Slovenia for the Slovenian minority in Croatia to wake up and become more active," the MP said.

The Slovenian minority has never had its own representative in the Croatian parliament and has not had a significant political presence at the local level, said Antolić Vupora, adding that because of this the activities of the minority have not expanded beyond cultural centres to economy, education and other areas.

The Slovenian minority did not have its candidate in the special electoral unit for ethnic minorities in Croatia. Hodžić, a member of the Bosniak minority was elected to represent the Albanian, Bosniak, Montenegrin, Macedonian and Slovenian minorities and will replace Ermina Lekaj Prljaskaj.

Antolić Vupora hopes that working with Hodžić will bring more results than with Lekaj Prljaskaj. "In all these years we were not able to solve the issue of the Slovenian Home in Zagreb, which wanted to buy the building it was operating in. I think we could have resolved this if she advocated for it a bit more," said Antolić Vupora.

© STA, 2024