President-Elect Milanović Pledges to Live Up to Trust Placed in Him

By 6 January 2020

ZAGREB, January 6, 2020 - Croatia's President-elect, Zoran Milanović, said in his first address after the presidential runoff on Sunday that he hoped he would not let down the people who placed their trust in him.

During his speech, interrupted by greetings and chants of about 1,000 jubilant supporters and Social Democratic Party officials and members in his election headquarters, Milanović said that the election campaign was "tough, long and not always fair."

"However, politics is a passionate job, full of love and sometimes filled with intolerance, and I did my best," said the fifth elected president of Croatia since the country gained independence.

Milanović thanked his rival Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović in his victory speech, and the mentioning of the name of the incumbent president was booed by his supporters which Milanović quickly stopped and urged that a similar situation "happened five years ago and should never happen again."

Milanović went on to say that Croatian voters had elected him to be the president of the republic, the president of all citizens, both ethnic Croats and people of other ethnic backgrounds. "I am happy about that!"

"In my life I have done other things as well. I was a prime minister and that has been a burden on this path (towards presidency). I am aware that not everyone likes me. We must live with that and move on because we are few, we are not successful enough and cannot afford to divide ourselves," Milanović said.

He went on to say that he would not tell "touching tales about unity" and that he would not make unrealistic promises.

"People differ from one another, and I will try not to insult anyone and I will try to pursue dialogue, aware that there are different people among us, with different worldviews, with prejudices, to which I myself am not immune because I am just a human being," said Milanović, whose presidency bid is supported by the SDP and several opposition parties from the left spectrum.

"The four million of us (Croatian citizens) are seeking our own place under the sun, and a niche on the journey we are travelling, a place in Europe which, despite all the problems it faces, is the most beautiful place and continent to live in, and we are part of that continent," he added.

Milanovic said in this context that he would cooperate with the government, and ruled out any desire for greater powers on his part.

"There will be no plotting, no secret deals. I will treat all political parties equally, because we are a multiparty parliamentary democracy. It is not perfect, but there is nothing better than that. Any other way would lead to autocracy, tyranny, arbitrariness, plunder, and the President of Republic must be an obstacle to that," said Milanović.

"If this narrow but fair and clear victory of mine gives some faith and some spirit to our society and to our people, I am a happy man and let us rejoice together," Milanović concluded in his victory speech.

More news about Zoran Milanović can be found in the Politics section.