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Independent Democratic Party (Yugoslavia)

The Independent Democratic Party (Serbo-Croatian: Samostalna demokratska stranka, Самостална демократска странка; Slovene: Samostojna demokratska stranka, SDS) was a social liberal political party in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. It was established by Svetozar Pribićević as a breakaway faction of the Democratic Party in 1924. It was formed by three different groups: by far the largest group were the Serbs from the areas of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, that is Croatian, Bosnian and Vojvodina Serbs, with the prevalence of the first. The second most influential group were Slovene centralist liberals. The third, smallest group was composed by Croat pro-Yugoslav liberals, mostly from Dalmatia and Zagreb.

In the first three years of its existence, the party supported a strong central Yugoslav government, fiercely opposing the Stjepan Radić's Croatian Peasant Party, forming the Peasant-Democratic Opposition, which demanded a decentralization of Yugoslavia. After the establishment of the royal dictatorship of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia on January 1929, the party was officially dissolved, but continued to function underground, while its president Svetozar Pribićević went into exile. Many of its members joined the officially sponsored regime party Yugoslav Radical Peasants' Democracy (renamed to Yugoslav National Party in 1933), including the great majority of its Slovenian members.

After Pribićević's death in exile in 1936, the leader of the party became Srđan Budisavljević. After the fall of the regime of the Yugoslav National Party in 1935, the Independent Democratic Party could function legally again, joining the United Opposition led by Vladko Maček.

In the mid-1920s, before the "anti-centralist turn" of the party in 1927, the Independent Democratic Party drew support from the militant Yugoslav nationalist organization ORJUNA.

Prominent members

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