Run-off likely in Croatian presidential elections

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Monday, December 28, 2009

The two top candidates in the 2009 Croatian presidential election, Ivo Josipović of the Social Democratic Party of Croatia and the independent Milan Bandić, will go into a run-off. The run-off vote is scheduled for January 10, 2010.

The two candidates have a combined percentage of the vote of 47.2%, with Josipović having 32.4% and Bandić having 14.8%. Andrija Hebrang of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union only received 12%, showing overall discontent with the economic situation and with high-level corruption allegations. There were twelve candidates attempting to succeed the incumbent Stjepan Mesić who has served the maximum two terms.

The 2009 election had extremely low voter turnout of only 34%. The victor will be the third president in the country's 19 year history. The nation has recently become a member of NATO, and both Josipović and Bandić have pledged to support Croatia in its 2012 bid to become members of the European Union, though there are concerns over acceptance into the EU is regarding the nation's suspected corruption.

Ivo Josipović is a professor of law at The University of Zagreb and also an award winning composer who's piece Samba da Camera won first prize from the European Broadcasting Union. Milan Bandić is the incumbent mayor of Croatia's capital Zagreb and was also a member of the Social Democratic Party until the 2009 election when he lost the party's nomination.