Tomislav Tomasevic: From Grassroots Activist to Zagreb Frontrunner

Barring a major upset, activist and MP Tomislav Tomasevic is set to become mayor of the Croatian capital, marking a new chapter for the city.

The day after Croatia’s May 16 municipal elections, local media and social networks were flooded with 11 year-old photos of the man who is now frontrunner for the post of mayor of Zagreb.

Tomislav Tomasevic was pictured clutching a banner or standing on stage in front of thousands of protesters who had taken to the streets of Zagreb in 2010 to oppose a construction project backed by the then mayor of the capital, Milan Bandic.

Bandic died of a heart attack in February while campaigning for a seventh term at the helm of the Croatian capital, home to almost a quarter of the country’s four million people. Today, Tomasevic is poised to take his place, providing – as expected – he can fight off right-wing folk singer Miroslav Skoro in a run-off on May 30.

If Tomasevic wins, it will be thanks in large part to the reputation he built through years of grassroots activism and opposition to Zagreb’s urban decay during Bandic’s controversial tenure.

The post will propel him to national prominence and potentially make his Mozemo! [We can!] party a force to be reckoned with in a country dominated since independence in 1991 by two parties.

His rise can be traced to the Right to the City initiative of 2010, when Tomasevic led protests against the construction of an underground garage on Zagreb’s Varsavska Street, where local entrepreneur Tomislav Horvatincic had built a plush shopping centre.

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