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.

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