Case Study: Možemo, Croatia

Možemo (We Can!) was founded in 2019 by a small group of political and civic activists who had become frustrated with the status quo of Croatian governance—especially in the capital city of Zagreb. Defining their approach as having "one foot in activism and the other in electoral politics,” Možemo’s leaders sought to become an alternative to what they viewed as the country’s nationalist and populist politics. 


Možemo was founded upon the principle and identity that its members are separate from the political establishment and elite. The party is keen to protect its identity as a MBP; as a result, it has faced the challenge of developing policies in ways that avoid clientelism, corruption, and outside political influence. 


Since its inception, Možemo’s internal structures and processes have supported deliberative and inclusive decision-making. However, it has adopted a strict membership structure in order to ensure that its members are acting in good faith. To become a formal party member, individuals must take part in local, thematic or operational groups for at least six months before applying for membership. Individuals must then submit an application for membership to the party’s Board of Directors. The long and arduous process acts as a “filter” to ensure that those who formally join the party are not only dedicated to Možemo, but also actively engaged in party activities.

However, members of the party have significant influence in Možemo’s deliberative and inclusive policymaking processes. Policymaking proceeds in three parts. First, the party’s Board of Directors identifies topics to explore using a consensus-based approach.  Then, it establishes working groups to identify policy suggestions. In the second phase, Možemo seeks input through technical working groups, online surveys, and local assemblies, all of which include non-party members. In the third phase, once public input has been collected, the Board of Directors determines which comments will be incorporated into the party’s finalized policy proposals.


Možemo has seen considerable electoral success since its founding, especially in Zagreb. The fast rise and success of Možemo is an indicator that – even in a country where the electorate historically votes between two main parties – newcomers who advocate for innovative policies and solutions can keep up with the mainstream political actors. Its inclusive policy development processes—which have attracted tens of thousands of responses in recent years—has increased its visibility and image as an alternative. However, its consensus-based and deliberative approach has come under criticism for being too time-intensive; as a result, some citizens have become satisfied with Možemo’s slow pace. The party has yet to strike an effective balance between diligence and expedience – a weakness that (if not remedied) may prove detrimental to Možemo’s success going forward. 
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