zoran milanovic.jpg
Zoran Milanovic
Photograph: HINA/ Milan ŠABIĆ/ ik

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.

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