December 22, 2019 / 7:42 PM / a month ago

Croatian president, former PM in presidential run-off on January 5

Presidential candidate Zoran Milanovic and his wife Sanja Music Milanovic appear on stage at his campaign headquarters after the presidential election in Zagreb, Croatia December 22, 2019. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

ZAGREB (Reuters) - The Socialist Democrats’ candidate and former prime minister Zoran Milanovic came first in the first round of Croatia’s presidential election, the State Electoral Commission said on Sunday after 99% of votes were counted.

Milanovic got 29.5% of the votes ahead of incumbent centre-right president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the candidate of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), with 26.7%. Independent candidate Miroslav Skoro, a popular singer with conservative nationalist-leaning views came in third with 24.4% of votes.

Milanovic and Grabar-Kitarovic will face in a run-off on Jan. 5, 2020.

The presidential role is to a large extent ceremonial as the head of state cannot veto laws, but has a say in foreign policy and defence matters. The president has a five-year term with the next one starting in February 2020.

Despite her second place in the first round Grabar-Kitarovic, whose first term in office some observers assessed as rather bland with little policy substance and a lot of populist patriotic rhetoric, seems to be the favourite in the second round.

“Skoro’s right wing voters are unlikely to support Milanovic, so Grabar-Kitarovic seems set to rely on a larger pool of potential voters in the second round,” said political analyst Davor Gjenero.

The second round pits the candidates of the two biggest parties in a year when Croatia will also hold parliamentary elections, most likely in the autumn.

Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Sandra Maler

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below