Croatia votes to elect President

epa08082438 Supporter of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic cheer during an election campaign rally in Zagreb, Croatia, 19 December 2019. Grabar-Kitarovic is running for re-election when Croatia holds presidential elections on 22 December 2019. EPA-EFE/ANTONIO BAT

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Croatia was voting on Sunday in a tight presidential election, with the ruling conservatives seeking to keep their grip on power days before the country takes over the European Union’s presidency for the first time.

Euronews reports that 3.8 million voters can pick among 11 candidates, but only three are considered to be the front runners while the others are lagging far behind.

Conservative incumbent Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic is running for a second term, challenged by leftist former Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and right-wing singer Miroslav Skoro.

Though the post is largely ceremonial in Croatia — the president formally commands the army and represents the country abroad — keeping the presidency is important for the ruling Croatian Democratic Union party as its government is set to assume the EU rotating chairmanship on Jan. 1 that that will include overseeing Brexit and the start of post-Brexit talks.

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Analysts have predicted that a runoff vote will be held in two weeks as none of the candidates is expected to win an outright majority and they are all polling close to one another. Grabar-Kitarovic had started off stronger than other candidates but her position has weakened after she made a series of gaffes during the campaign.

POLITICO’s Poll of Polls show that Grabar-Kitarović and Milanovic are close with support being 29% and 28% respectively.

Via Euronews / POLITICO

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