Milanović defeats Grabar-Kitarović in Croatia’s Presidential elections

Opinion polls suggested Milanovic would win the largely ceremonial post, though by a smaller margin [Marko Djurica/Reuters]

Social Democrat candidate Zoran Milanović emerged as the winner in the recently concluded presidential elections in Croatia beating incumbent president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic of the governing Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party. Milanović generated 52.7% of the vote according to results released late Sunday, January 5, as against Grabar-Kitarovic who garnered only 47.3% in the second round of the elections.

Eleven candidates initially competed during the first round of the elections held last December 22, 2019. The incumbent president only got garnered 26.65% while former Prime Minister Milanović got 29.55%. For failing to reach a majority, a second round of voting became necessary.

Grabar-Kitarovic focused her campaign message on “unity, patriotism and references to the 1990s independence war” while Milanović emphasized to the voters that the “wars are over” and Croatia should now focus on its role in the European Union.

Croatia, which is struggling with corruption, a lacklustre economy and a large exodus of its population seeking better opportunities abroad, is the newest member of the EU.

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