The leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and candidate for the Prime Minister, Zoran Milanovic, said at an election rally in the eastern municipality of Babina Greda on Saturday that Croatians were leaving their country not only because they were looking for better living conditions but also because of a sense of injustice that was provoked by people who claimed for themselves the exclusive right to patriotism.
"There has been constant manipulation with the ethnic sentiments of both Serbs and Croats in Croatia. The People's Coalition represents the unity of Croats, ethnic minorities and all people who wish to live here, pay taxes and receive benefits, free education and quality medical services," Milanovic said.
He said that the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) was not ready to return to power and that the credibility of that party, a word used in its election slogan, was "an oxymoron".
He also commented on the fact that a sports hall had still not been built in Babina Greda.
"At the start of this year, the government proposed a budgetary allocation of only HRK 800,000 for this sports hall, where only a hole has been dug out, and yesterday they decided to fill the hole in. What is that?... Is that European behaviour?"
Kreso Beljak, leader of the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS), a partner in the SDP-led People's Coalition, said his party joined the coalition because it was sure that it would have true and sincere partners in the SDP and the HNS.
He said that during a visit to Vukovar earlier in the day, leaders of the People's Coalition were verbally abused but that it would not discourage them from continuing on their course that would lead to Croatia's progress.
During the visit to Vukovar, as Milanovic was passing by an HDZ election stand, HDZ activists started booing him and shouting "Get out of Vukovar". Milanovic first stopped in his tracks and then walked away, saying in the low voice, "the bunch of losers", a reference to the HDZ activists.