Zoran Milanovic, Croatia’s center-left former prime minister, has won the country’s presidential election, defeating center-right incumbent Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in a second-round vote.
Milanovic, of the Social Democrats (SDP), won 52.7% of the vote according to results released late Sunday, a larger margin than expected. Grabar-Kitarovic of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) won 47.3%.
In the first round of the elections last month, Milanovic beat 11 other candidates to win with 29.6% of the votes, while Grabar-Kitarovic garnered 26.7%.
Grabar-Kitarovic lost a huge lead in opinion polls over the past six months, and the party has followed a similar trend. Conversely, the SDP rose in popularity alongside Milanovic.
The two parties have dominated the political landscape since Croatia split from the former Yugoslavia in 1991, and are both striving for the upper hand in parliamentary elections in December.
The presidential role is largely ceremonial. The head of state is unable to veto laws, but does have a say on foreign policy, defence and security matters.
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