Social Democratic Party (SDP) president Zoran Milanovic responded on Tuesday to Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic's call for more tolerance in public dialogue, saying that Oreskovic should be drawing up the budget instead of lecturing someone about manners, and calling on him to publicly say to whose statements he referred in his Facebook post.
"We don't have a government and that's Croatia's problem, we don't need someone now lecturing someone about manners. With some people, you can't talk in a nicer way," Milanovic said.
"I'm calling on (Oreskovic's) government and the people who are his adjutants to be more tolerant. I choose my words when talking about his associates, but those can't be nice words. The truth is worse than that truth. He's now busy drawing up the budget, if he has influence on that. The situation is much better for him than it was for us (the previous SDP-led government), finances are in a better state, the deficit is smaller. We did half the job for him," Milanovic said.
He hoped that Oreskovic understood where he had come and that nice and well-meaning phrases would change nothing. He said the problem was in the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and its Patriotic Coalition and that Oreskovic should talk to the people whose boss he nominally was and for whom he was responsible.
Asked if he went too far when he called some people good-for-nothings, Milanovic said those were facts. "I've said that that coalition is supported by people under investigation, with serious indictments, therefore criminals, that it is pro-Ustasha because that's how they advertise themselves, and that it spies because that's their modus operandi."
He went on to say that some Church prelates appointed by the Vatican were saying that SDP members were communists, traitors and were against the Croatian people. "Do Mr. Oreskovic and Mr. Karamarko understand these things? The Croatian people voted for us. In the last two elections, more Croatian people and Croats voted for us than for the HDZ and no one voted for Mr. Oreskovic."
"I see that in Zagreb the other day some imam again accused the Jews and the Serbs of all problems. That's not good because they are people who support the government. When someone is unmasked as being an extremist, as being pro-Ustasha, when it's evident that this will cause us problems as a country, then the communists, the Serbs and the Jews are accused of that. It's an old story. Am I going too far? These are the bare facts," Milanovic said, adding that "we live" in the EU, in 2016, and that these things should be talked about publicly.
"It wasn't I who turned on gas tanks and yelled (Ustasha salute) 'For the homeland, ready' in the streets. The HDZ does that and the HDZ led Mr. Oreskovic by the hand to the government headquarters. And it keeps this hand tied behind his back," Milanovic said.