Runoff vote required for Croatia’s presidential elections

epa08087430 Croatian presidential candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP) Zoran Milanovic speaks to supporters during an election night rally in Zagreb, Croatia, 22 December 2019. Croatian citizens went to the polls on 22 December to vote for a new president. A second round of voting has been set for 05 January if no candidate wins a majority. EPA-EFE/DANIEL KASAP

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Croatia’s tight presidential race will go to a runoff vote in two weeks, after exit polls and initial returns indicated that none of the candidates had won the office outright.

Near-complete results showed that the conservative incumbent will face a liberal former prime minister in a runoff vote. There were 11 candidates, but only three were considered to be the front runners while the others are lagging far behind.

Milanovic, a former prime minister, and Grabar Kitarovic, who is seeking a second term, will now face each other in a final runoff on January 5.

Euronews reports that with nearly 90% of the ballots counted, state election authorities in Croatia reported that left-wing politician Zoran Milanovic led the first round of voting with nearly 30% support. President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic had almost 27%, followed by right-wing singer Miroslav Skoro in third place with around 24%.

The turnout was higher than during the last election in 2014, with some 100,000 more voters having cast ballots by mid-afternoon despite bad weather.

Some 3.8 million voters were eligible to vote.

The presidential post is primarily ceremonial. Nevertheless, the new president is expected to represent Croatia abroad and command its army.

Via Euronews  / Al Jazeera / DW

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