Social Democratic Party (SDP) President Zoran Milanovic said in Rijeka on Monday that in 20 years' time Croatia must be among the European Union's 15 most developed countries because it could achieve that goal.

Speaking at a People's Coalition election rally, Milanovic said that was no fantasy but a realistic goal because the coming Croatian generation could achieve it.

Milanovic said he did not wish to talk about the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) nor insult people but added that the HDZ was not credible.

He said the next generation of Croatian politicians must set very high goals, to be the best, fair but aggressive, and to play by Western rules to achieve their goals.

Milanovic said he had dedicated his political life to making his country a fortress of the rule of law. He said the September 11 parliamentary election was "a choice between two value systems - for a functional state, the rule of law, rules which everyone respects, the rights of the individual to impose themselves and realise their ambitions if they are healthy, and a system which supports them and lends a hand if they stumble so that they don't fail."

He said the People's Coalition would win the polls. "But we won't dominate nor subjugate but, in the days after the election, seek a compromise and sensible solution with our partners and everyone who wishes Croatia well."

Milanovic said he pushed for a Croatia in which anti-fascism was not just a platitude but a real value without which Istria and Rijeka would not be part of Croatia and which were liberated by the Croatian arms of the Partisan army. "That's history we can be proud of."

Milanovic said he pushed for a Croatia with quality education and a modern educational reform designed by the most competent experts. "We have begun that, give us a chance to finish it."

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