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Exit Polls Show Croatian Social Democrat Winning Presidency

VOA News 10 January 2010

Croatian TV exit polls show opposition Social Democrat Ivo Josipovic headed for a big win in Sunday's presidential election.

Two commercial television networks (Nova, RTL) showed Josipovic winning 65 percent of the vote shortly after the polls closed Sunday. His opponent, Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic, had 35 percent. Official results are expected Tuesday.

The turnout for Sundays' vote was put at 38 percent three hours before polls closed.

If the exit polls hold up, Josipovic will be vaulted into the largely ceremonial role of Croatian president, as the Adriatic nation seeks to gain entry into the European Union.

Josipovic, a law professor and classical music composer, is backed by leftist parties. Bandic is supported by rightists, war veterans and the country's large expatriate bloc.

Sunday's winner succeeds outgoing President Stipe Mesic, whose maximum second five-year term ends next month.

Both candidates support Croatia's ongoing bid to complete EU entry talks this year, with the aim of joining by 2012.

The EU has pushed Croatia to step up anti-corruption initiatives, and has called for widespread judicial and public administration reforms.
Some information for this report provided by AFP.

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