Addressing an election rally in Slavonski Brod on Friday, Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Zoran Milanovic, whose party heads the People's Coalition, called for putting an end to divisions in the Croatian society over the country's past.

"We must finally understand that disputes over 1941, over UDBA (former Yugoslav secret service) are over. What happened, happened... Our business competitors... laugh as they watch us accuse one another and quarrel. They look at us and say 'They don't know any better'. There is a coalition that knows better, that is not haunted by the ghosts of the past and that does not use political rivals for curing its own frustrations," Milanovic told an election rally in the eastern town, which is part of Constituency No. 5.

He called for putting an end to divisions in the Croatian society, adding that for him the main topic should be tax policies but that his political opponents were unwilling to discuss such topics.

"We are for a progressive, competitive Croatia that will move up ten places in competitiveness rankings every year," he said, adding that Croatia had to produce better and more competitive products.

He cited in that context the national tourism industry, whose results, he said, were owing to a well-thought-out policy, something the area between the Drava and the Sava rivers needed too.

Milanovic said that he expected measures to be implemented by the People's Coalition to result in the continuation of economic growth and employment and a drop in emigration.

He said the coalition expected additional votes from supporters of the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS), a member of the People's Coalition that had taken over the responsibility for rural development and agriculture.

Investments in rural areas and agriculture and the adoption of new legislation that will strengthen family-run farms is the course the HSS will pursue in this region, said HSS vice-president Davor Vlaovic.

The leaders of the other two parties making up the People's Coalition, Ivan Vrdoljak of the Croatian People's Party (HNS) and Silvano Hrelja of the Croatian Pensioners' Party (HSU), too, spoke at the rally in Slavonski Brod.

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