Andrej Plenkovic.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR/ ds

The president of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Andrej Plenkovic, said in the southern Croatian town of Sinj on Sunday that a television face-off with Social Democratic Party (SDP) president Zoran Milanovic had not yet been arranged, adding however that he could not wait for a public debate with his political rival and that the HDZ's rating was growing.

"I am ready and I can't wait for a public debate with my political rival. I am exceptionally pleased with the current rating of the HDZ which is on an ascending line and I expect it to grow even further by the time of the election. After all, I have been at the helm of the HDZ for a month, while Milanovic has been the SDP chief for ten years," Plenkovic said in Sinj where he is attending the 301st edition of the Alka lancing tournament.

"I believe that with my arrival at the helm of the HDZ, the party received some freshness, esteem, energy... All of my colleagues are feeling good, they are prepared for the winning campaign and I am confident that the next polls will be even more in favour of the HDZ," Plenkovic added.

He reiterated he was ready for a television face-off with Milanovic and that he would do it before the formal start of the campaign.

The HDZ chief declined to comment on Milanovic's absence from today's event in Sinj, saying briefly that everyone had their own path, their own approach to the campaign and important Croatian events.

Asked if a grand HDZ-SDP coalition was possible after the election, Plenkovic said this was not on the agenda, stressing that the HDZ was going for the win at the parliamentary election.

Answering to reporters' questions, Plenkovic reiterated he condemned inappropriate incidents committed by a small group of people at the celebration of Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day in Knin, adding however those were isolated incidents which could not and must not cast a shadow over the magnificent celebration of the liberation police and military operation Storm.

"I once again condemn inappropriate incidents of a smaller group of participants in the celebration who displayed symbols (...) that do not belong to the 21st century. I strongly condemned the burning of the Serbian flag. However, those were individual incidents which cannot and must not cast a shadow over the magnificent celebration of Operation Storm which liberated the majority of occupied Croatian territory and brought freedom to the Croatian people. I repeat, those were minor incidents and they have been dealt with (by the police)," the HDZ chief said.

Related stories

Latest news

Thousands of Romanians revive anti-government protests

Thousands of Romanians turned out on Sunday to renew their demands for the government to step down amid accusations it is trying to protect corrupt politicians.

Francis, first pope to visit Anglicans in Rome, weighs S Sudan trip

Pope Francis became the first leader of the Catholic Church to visit the Anglican community in Rome on Sunday, where he said he was considering a trip to famine-struck South Sudan.

Ibrahimovic lifts Man United past Southampton in League Cup final

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an 87th-minute winner as Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 in an exciting League Cup final on Sunday.

London screens Iranian director's film amid Oscars boycott

Thousands of people watched a free screeening of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's film "The Salesman" in London on Sunday to coincide with the Oscars.

Real Madrid stage comeback to stay top; Messi scores in Barcelona win

Lionel Messi scored the winner as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 on Sunday to move top of the Spanish first division.

Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel member of The Leading Hotels of the World

The Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel has joined the Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd., a global hospitality consortium of more than 375 hotels and resorts in over 75 countries.

Biggest Bosnian Serb party ceases all contact with Izetbegovic over ICJ judjment review request

The main committee of the biggest Bosnian Serb party which makes up the ruling majority in Bosnia and Herzegovina decided o Sunday that its officials would cease all contact with member of the Bosnian President Bakir Izetbegovic until the crisis occurred following the submission of a request to the International Court of justice (ICJ) to review its ruling against Serbia is resolved.

Egypt court adjourns Morsi retrial over prison escape

An Egyptian court adjourned a case against former president Mohamed Morsi until March 29 on Sunday, during the first session of his retrial over orchestrating a prison escape during the 2011 uprising.

Hamas rejects Netanyahu's proposal for international forces in Gaza

The Islamic Hamas movement rejected on Sunday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposal to send international forces to the Gaza Strip, the coastal enclave that Hamas has been ruling since 2007.

Deloitte: Growing optimism among CFOs

Chief financial officers (CFOs) in Croatia are more optimistic about growth and financial prospects in 2017 than they were last year, with most of them expecting increases in their company's revenue, a survey shows.

Russian agents main suspects for attempted coup in Montenegro

Russian citizens Eduard Shumakov and Vladimir Popoc, suspected of organising terrorist activities in Montenegro and forming a criminal organisation, are agents of Russia's Main Intelligence Agency (GRU), British, U.S. and other intelligence agencies confirmed, the Podgorica-based media reported on Sunday.

Six injured, 96 detained in Berlin fan clashes

Six people were treated in hospital and 96 detained in clashes in Berlin between fans of Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt, police said Sunday.