Zagreb: A leftist opposition legal
scholar will face off against Zagreb`s colorful mayor in
Croatia`s presidential runoff elections, the state-run
Electoral Commission said early Monday.
The failure of the ruling conservative party candidate to
make the runoff signals Croatians` growing dissatisfaction
with the government`s handling of the economy and charges of
With nearly all votes counted yesterday, the commission
said Social Democrat lawmaker Ivo Josipovic garnered 32.4 per
cent of votes and Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic -- who ran as
independent candidate -- got 14.8 percent of votes.
Because no candidate got more than 50 percent of the
vote, the top two finishers must now face each other in a Jan.
Both candidates are considered pro-Western and both will
likely support the ex-Yugoslav country`s efforts to win entry
into the European Union, possibly in 2011 or 2012.
A professor of international law at the Zagreb Law
Faculty and lawmaker since 2003, Josipovic has a largely
untainted resume, but even his supporters acknowledge that he
suffers from a lack of charisma.
Speaking after the vote, Josipovic, 52, said Croats "had
a chance today to choose between justice and injustice,
between law and lawlessness, between light and darkness."
"They obviously have chosen light and I`m sure it will be
the same on January 10," Josipovic said.
Zagreb`s mayor since 2000, the 54-year-old Bandic remains
popular despite allegations of political cronyism. Bandic was
kicked out of the Social Democrats when he decided to oppose
Josipovic in the presidential election.