Parties React to Milanović’s Statements

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Recordings of a meeting between Zoran Milanović and veterans’ representatives are still in the focus of public attention.

Recordings of a meeting between SDP president Zoran Milanović and representatives of veterans’ association, which were published by the media on Thursday, are still making headlines across the region. Many political parties have reacted to some of the more controversial statements made by Milanović, reports Jutarnji List on August 26, 2016.

“We are in an election campaign in which there are some unusual things going on, again related to the opposition candidate Milanović. There are all kinds of recordings coming out, and we can hear quite surprising and revealing elements”, said yesterday HDZ president Andrej Plenković. “I want to say that the Croatian people can choose between a responsible, serious, calm and credible leader on the one hand, and messages that we can hear from the opposition candidate which more closely resemble dilettantism that can he heard in bars. These statements can damage our relations with neighbouring countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, and they are utterly inappropriate and unworthy of someone who was prime minister”, said Plenković.

The recordings have provoked contradictory reactions: while HDZ is delighted because they think it could be the key moment in the election campaign, SDP members defend their party president. Former minister Arsen Bauk (SDP) said that Milanović’s statement about Serbia being pitiful was referring to the Greater Serbia idea. “Activities of people who currently lead Serbia during the 1990s are not something that deserves our respect or appreciation. The policies which they advocated then have caused great suffering of the Croatian and Bosniak people in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. I am moved by the understanding shown by Plenković and Culture Minister Hasanbegović for the relations with Serbia. It seems to me that they have more strongly defended Serbian Prime Minister Vučić than their own candidate Krstičević, who was recently criticized”, said Bauk.

HSS president Krešo Beljak, who is in a coalition with SDP, said that he did not even read the contents of the conversation. “This is a joint action by Serbian Prime Minister Vučić, Serbian President Nikolić, Vojislav Šešelj and HDZ, with those who present themselves as leaders of veterans”, said Beljak.

HSLS president Darinko Kosor, who is HDZ’s partner in this election, had a different opinion. “Where are all those civil sector activists? If something like this was said by Hasanbegović, they would have crucified him. This is a disgrace for everybody left of centre.”

“Milanović is like that, that is the way he talks on the phone with colleagues in informal communication, that is real Milanović”, commented those who know him personally. Some say they support him because he is being honest. However, others say that diplomatic circles do not appreciate such honesty. “Diplomats are horrified with such style of communication. Some believe that this scandal will decide the elections”, said a source.

President of the Serbian National Council Milorad Pupovac posted a comment through social networks. “Just when you think that there can be nothing worse than the rhetoric of the Croatian rightwing parties, Zoran Milanović appears. If he cannot be better than the right, he made an effort to be worse than them. He has once again manifested his tendency to insult and humiliate other people and nations. This is too much, even for Zoran”, wrote Pupovac.


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