Croatia, the European Union’s newest member, is set to vote for a new head of state December 28, with none of the four candidates vying for the largely ceremonial post seems likely to secure an outright victory according to polls. Incumbent Ivo Josipovic, supported by the ruling Social Democrats, is seen as a frontrunner even though the government’s failure to halt economic decline has eroded the party’s popularity. Josipovic has campaigned on a platform proposing constitutional changes, saying that a more decentralized and democratic country is needed to help the economy find a way out its sixth year of recession. “Today we have an entire generation of young people who are no longer concerned with asking whose side one was on in 1941 or in 1991, they are concerned with where to get jobs. I want to learn from them, I want to live with them, and I want to see us giving them a future together. Let’s not forget that we have merely borrowed Croatia from future generations, and it is our obligation to solidify the foundations of the country, and without doing that, we cannot find a way out of the economic crisis,” Josipovic told a rally in Zagreb in December, referring to political divisions in Croatian society over the legacy of World War II and the independence war of the 1990s.
Josipovic, a jurist and composer of classical music, tops the opinion polls ahead of the vote but will probably face a run-off poll on January 11 against Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic from the conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), the biggest opposition party.
Grabar-Kitarovic is a former foreign minister, ambassador to Washington and a NATO official.
“We are going to move Croatia forward, because only we, not foreigners, only we, Croatian citizens, together with our diaspora, only we can – using our patriotism, our zeal for our homeland, our efforts – only we can move our Croatia forward, and take it to its place among the most developed countries of the world, and not where it is today, at the bottom of all rankings,” Grabar-Kitarovic told supporters on the campaign trail in Grobnik.
Full Article: Croatia Gears Up for December 28 Presidential Elections.