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Croatia: Presidential election goes to runoff

Last Updated: Monday, December 28, 2009 - 08:39

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
high-level corruption.

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.
10 runoff.

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.


First Published: Monday, December 28, 2009 - 08:39
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