• Thursday, Dec 08, 2022
  • Last Update : 09:54 am

Ex-leftist PM wins Croatia presidential poll

  • Published at 04:11 pm January 6th, 2020
Zoran Milanovic waves next to his wife after first results were announced during the run-off of Croatia's presidential election in Zagreb, Croatia, January 5, 2020 Reuters

Milanovic took 52.7% of the vote while President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who had tried to unite a fractured right-wing, garnered 47.3%

Leftist former prime minister Zoran Milanovic, who has pledged to make Croatia a tolerant country turning the page on its wartime past, won Sunday's presidential run-off vote, defeating the incumbent conservative leader.

Milanovic took 52.7% of the vote while President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who had tried to unite a fractured right-wing, garnered 47.3%, according to results based on vote count at nearly all polling stations released by the electoral commission.

The second-round election was held just days after Croatia took over the European Union's helm for a six-month period, which will be dominated by Brexit and the bloc's enlargement. 

At the same time, the EU's newest member is struggling with a mass exodus of its people, corruption and a lacklustre economy at home.

Grabar-Kitarovic campaigned on a slogan promoting "real Croatia", hinting she believes the ruling conservative HDZ party that backed her was the only one who can truly represent the country.

Milanovic, a Social Democratic, called such statements "very dangerous", and advocated for a "normal Croatia" as a liberal democracy which promotes equality for all citizens.

"Four million of us ... are looking for our place in Europe which is, despite all the problems, the nicest place to live, the most peaceful project in which Croatia must find its place and interest," Milanovic told supporters in Zagreb after his victory.

'United in differences'

"Let's be united in (our) differences," the 53-year-old said.

In the campaign Milanovic stressed that the "wars are over," referring to Croatia's 1990s independence war that remains an emotive issue.

Grabar-Kitarovic, 51, the country's first female president, had tried but failed to lure back hardliners who had voted for a nationalist folk singer in the presidential election's first round in December.

She stressed unity, patriotism and references to the 1990s war in her re-election bid.

Conceding defeat on Sunday evening Grabar-Kitarovic promised a "civilised transfer" of power to Milanovic.

She stressed that "Croatia needs stability" and unity as "we are the strongest when we are together."

Analysts say that Milanovic, who dominated in the cities, also won thanks in part to the split among the right-wingers.

The election was viewed as a key test for the ruling HDZ party of moderate Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic ahead of parliamentary elections later this year and Grabar-Kitarovic's loss was seen as a heavy blow.

"It will weaken the (HDZ) party" and harms Plenkovic's reputation, political analyst Tihomir Cipek said.

The prime minister is also facing the discontent of hardliners within the HDZ over his moderate policies.

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail