Croatians have gone to the polls to pick their next president – the person who will help steer the Balkan nation towards entry to the European Union. The issue has dominated a campaign that has one clear frontrunner – the man already in the job, liberal Stipe Mesic.
Popular at home as a quick witted “man of the people,” Mesic has been credited by the West with spearheading Zagreb’s efforts to normalise relations with Serbia and Bosnia following the bloody wars that tore the ex-Yugoslavia apart in the early 1990s.
Surveys show the 70-year-old could capture enough of the vote to win the election outright.
But his main rival has other ideas.
Conservative Deputy Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor hopes to force a second round. And that is exactly what will happen if no one captures over 50 percent of the vote today, with the two top contenders facing a run-off ballot on January 16.