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Croatia - 2014 President Election

The Croatian government decided to call a presidential election for 28 December 2014, and in case that none of the candidates wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the first two vote-getters will compete in a run-off 14 days later, that is on 11 January 2015. This would be the sixth election for Croatia's head of state since the country gained independence in 1991.

The president is directly elected for a five-year term on the basis of universal suffrage, through a secret ballot, and there is a limit of two terms that can be served by the same person.

The first president, Franjo Tudjman, won the polls in 1992 and in 1997. He died during his second term on 10 December 1999. Stjepan Mesic won the presidential election in January 2000 and was re-elected in January 2005. He was succeeded by Ivo Josipovic who was the winner of the first round of voting on 27 December 2009 and of the second round held on 10 January 2010.

As for the forthcoming election, candidacies had been announced by the incumbent President Ivo Josipovic, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Milan Kujundzic of the Alliance for Croatia, former Croatian Party of Rights (HSP) leader Anto Djapic, official receiver Ivan Rude, and member of Parliament Ivan Grubisic.

The winner of Croatia's presidential election, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic garnered 50.74% of the vote, that is 1,114,945 ballots, while the incumbent president Ivo Josipovic won 49.26% (1,082,436 ballots), the State Electoral Commission (DIP) reported on Monday after a repeated vote at a polling station in Karlova.

Croatia's first woman president won 91.11% of the vote abroad, while Josipovic won 8.89%. A total of 37,028 expatriates voted at 92 polling stations, with Grabar-Kitarovic winning in 28 and Josipovic in 19 countries. In Indonesia, Israel and Ukraine they won the same number of votes.

Grabar-Kitarovic won the most votes in the countries with the largest Croatian communities - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany and Australia - as well as in Slovenia, Montenegro, Italy and Hungary. Of the neighbouring states, Josipovic won only in Serbia, mustering 54.03% of the vote. In Bosnia, Grabar-Kitarovic won 93.80% and in Germany 94.12% of the vote.

Thus, the new Croatian head of state who will take over the position on 18 February, won 32,509 more votes than the outgoing president. DIP also stated that the turnout at the presidential election was 59.03%, and that there were 60,728 invalid ballots, or 2.69%.

Grabar-Kitarovic is a former foreign minister and was Croatia's ambassador to the United States. She has promised to work to boost the Croatian economy, one of the slowest economies in the European Union. Unemployment in Croatia is about 20 percent and a recession is in its sixth year. The Croatian presidency is a largely ceremonial job, but the president has the power to influence foreign policy and defense.

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