Croatia presidential race heading to runoff on January 5

Croatia presidential race heading to runoff on January 5

PanARMENIAN.Net - Croatia's tight presidential race will go to a runoff vote in two weeks, after exit polls and initial returns indicated that none of the candidates had won the office outright.

With nearly 90% of the ballots counted, state election authorities in Croatia reported that left-wing politician Zoran Milanovic led the first round of voting with nearly 30% support. President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic had almost 27%, followed by right-wing singer Miroslav Skoro in third place with around 24%.

Milanovic and Grabar Kitarovic now will face each other in a second round of voting Jan. 5.

As polls closed on Sunday evening, election authorities said turnout was higher than during the last election in 2014, with some 100,000 more voters having cast ballots by mid-afternoon despite bad weather.

The presidential election was tight, with the ruling conservatives seeking to keep their grip on power days before the country takes over the European Union's presidency for the first time.

Some 3.8 million voters in the European Union's newest member state had to pick among 11 candidates, but only three were considered to be the front runners while the others are lagging far behind.

Conservative incumbent Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic is running for a second term, challenged by leftist former Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and right-wing singer Miroslav Skoro.

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