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Photograph: HINA/ Miljenko KLEPAC/ ua

The Bridge party protested in strong terms on Tuesday against reducing TV debates only to the leaders of the SDP and the HDZ, Zoran Milanovic and Andrej Plenkovic respectively, saying that some media pretended as though Croatia was still a "political duopoly".

"Decisions to that effect are deeply undemocratic and worrying for the development of democracy and pluralism," Bridge said in a press release.

It recalled that over 300,000 citizens voted for Bridge at the last parliamentary election, saying it was scandalous to prevent citizens from hearing what politicians close to them would say in debates on the national broadcaster (HRT) as well as other media.

Bridge said the SDP (Social Democrats) and the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) behaved identically in many things and that an increasing number of citizens were against "their malignant duopoly."

"The message being sent to voters is that Croatia has only two political options and two possible prime ministers. Bridge has in the meantime become a national option," the party said, adding that decisions on TV debates between only the SDP and the HDZ leaders "have erased (Bridge) from voters' focus."

If the debates are a prelude to a large SDP-HDZ coalition, citizens should be told so, Bridge said, adding that it would fight even more strongly for the democratisation, depoliticisation and professionalisation of the HRT.

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