With the formal start of electioneering at midnight Monday for the Croatian presidential election set for 28 December, the presidential candidate of the strongest opposition Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, began her whistle-stop tour in her hometown of Drazice, where she promised that if she won the election she would complete the job which the first president, Franjo Tudjman, had started steering the country towards prosperity, while the incumbent head of state, Ivo Josipovic, embarked on his hustings tour at noon Tuesday in downtown Zagreb where he boarded a bus that will transport him and his team through Croatia in the next 18 days of campaigning. Josipovic, who was seen off by Prime Minister and Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Zoran Milanovic, said he was starting the tour from the same place, the square outside the law school and the Croatian National Theatre, from where he started the campaigning for his first term five years ago.
Some 300 supporters came to the square to see off Josipovic, but there were also a few supporters of presidential challenger Ivan Sincic, who is running for president as an activist of a civil society association, and they were carrying a banner with the message “Politicians are parasites!” Josipovic set off for the eastern neighbourhoods of Zagreb as the first next stop.
During the night, Grabar Kitarovic visited the Viktor Lenac shipyard in Rijeka and local fishermen who work by night. According to the rules, each candidate can spend no more than eight million kuna on the election campaign.
In the event that Croatia does not elect the president in the first round on 28 December, the first two vote-getters will vie in the runoff and they can spend an additional HRK 1.6 million in the runup to the second round of the polls. The campaigning can be funded by a candidate’s own funds and by donations.