The Croatia is Growing coalition, led by the Social Democratic Party (SDP), on Tuesday held an election rally in Zagreb's main square, with Prime Minister and SDP leader Zoran Milanovic telling supporters that in the parliamentary election on November 8 voters would be choosing between a government they would be able to control and direct and a government "run by secret services, the intelligence underworld, crime, corruption and corrupt football executives."
"It's either growth or cuts, Tomislav Karamarko or I, Zoran Milanovic and my people. A democratic government which you will be able to control, commend or criticise, or a government run by secret services, the intelligence underworld, crime, corruption and corrupt football executives, people who look down on you, who are incapable of counting the five points of their election platform, not because they are not familiar with them but because they think you are unworthy of it," Milanovic said.
Milanovic said that Croatia's chances were great and that his government "has pulled the country out of stagnation, corruption and the self-will of one party."
"That is why I am saying here openly - we are against the oppressors and their helpers. We will resist, we are not afraid, but I also do not want anyone to be afraid of us. There have been attempts over the past three and a half years to intimidate us, there were crowds shouting outside our homes while our women and children were in there, gas bottles were turned off, hammers were wielded and used to smash state property just because of plaques with two words in the Cyrillic script on them," Milanovic said.
"There are no people suspected or convicted of crime or people under investigation on our slates. Those people have a clean conscience, they are people you can trust but you must check them. Croatia is growing... and most of our people are glad about it, and as for those who are not - they'll have to live with it."
He noted that his government was not perfect, that he was aware of its mistakes, but that "it is a thousand times better than the previous governments that raped and plundered Croatia."
He underlined that Croatia had paid a huge price for its accomplishments and called on those gathered at the rally to give a round of applause for those who had given their lives for Croatia.
"We will continue doing our job even better, there have been mistakes and we are aware of them, but we will work on preserving the social fabric of Croatia, keeping the education system as it is, maintaining free and quality health care - the things the HDZ is threatening to abolish."
Milanovic repeated that his coalition would not allow anyone to cause divisions among Croatians.
"Our people are being divided the most by people who speak about unity, they (are returning us to the years) 1941 and 1945. We want to leave that behind, so let us be," Milanovic said.
Commenting once again on the ongoing refugee crisis, he said that there would be no fences around Croatia as long as he was Prime Minister.
The rally was also addressed by Croatian Pensioners Party (HSU) leader Silvano Hrelja and Croatian People's Party (HNS) leader Vesna Pusic.
"(In the November 8 election) we will be choosing between embitterment and self-confidence, between a frustrated and an open society, between xenophobia and creativity, between growth and decline. Let us choose growth," Pusic said.