The People's Coalition, led by the Social Democratic Party (SDP), held a final election rally in Zagreb's main square on Wednesday evening, with SDP leader Zoran Milanovic saying that he was ready to talk with "anyone who can turn a problem into a solution, but not the other way round."

"Give us one more chance and we are ready to talk with anyone in Croatian politics who has a solution, who can turn a problem into a solution, but not the other way round, who turns a solution into a problem," Milanovic said.

"We are going for a victory, but not for domination. We are not aiming to stamp out culture or kill the education reform. We have a country, a republic, and that's what we often forget, which was won in the Second World War and which our defenders built upon 50 years later. That's Croatia, and we should not be ashamed of it, but should be proud," Milanovic said.

He said that Croatia belongs to the West and "we must become conscious of the Balkans in ourselves and reject it with contempt."

"We are also partly in the Balkans, but that culture, with all due respect and regardless of our liking it, is not something that we should be defined by. Hard work, strict criteria, rule of law, the hard way to success, not by lottery, not by jumping the line, not by cheating, not by dodging taxes. Only through hard work will we achieve results and what belongs to us, and that is material and spiritual wealth, to become a country of people with full wallets," Milanovic said.

He asked voters to give the People's Coalition a chance to lead the country over the next four years. "It will be hard, I admit that. We should not delude ourselves with hopes of a magnificent victory, those days are over. During our four years in power we showed that we knew what to do and were willing to do it."

Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) leader Kreso Beljak called the outgoing government, led by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), incompetent and dangerous because "it is supported by people who would like to take us back to the dark ages, who would ban women from working, who don't want Croatia to be a European country, but at the bottom of Europe."

"They question the fundamental values that we Croats and all citizens of Croatia have embraced since 1945. Those values cannot be questioned," Beljak said to loud applause from the crowd.

Beljak said that the People's Coalition had no alternative and that in Sunday's election they would oppose "bigots, amateurs, traders, anarchists, who are driving us back into the past." He called on voters to go to the polls because they "might not have a second chance for the future of Croatia."

Vesna Pusic of the Croatian People's Party (HNS) said that the People's Coalition's programme was based on an antifascist platform, adding that France had severed cooperation with Croatia on a major cultural project because they did not want to work with the outgoing minister of culture. She said she was sure that the HDZ under the leadership of Andrej Plenkovic has not changed.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.