Croatia will elect a new head of state tomorrow.
The economic crisis and concerns over high-level corruption have dominated a campaign in which a dozen candidates are competing for the top job.
Of all the would-be presidents, Ivo Josipovic of the main opposition Social Democrats, seems to have struck the right note with the electorate. A legal expert and university graduate in music, he has an average lead of 15 percentage points in opinion
But statistics like that don’t daunt the populist Mayor of Zagreb. The flamboyant style and sense of fun displayed by Milan Bandic, a former veteran SDP member, look to have endeared him to voters.
He is neck and neck with businessman Nadan Vidosevic, a renegade from the ruling conservative Croatian Democratic Union. Should his arguments fail to convince, his secret weapon could be looks that have earned him the nickname George Clooney.
With so many hopefuls to choose from, political analyst Davor Gjenero raised questions about the election, notably over the origins of political funding.
“This campaign is showing that corruption is not just in politics but within society as well,” he said.
Whatever happens tomorrow, Croatians are likely
to have to vote again in a run-off ballot next month. And, with a new president, many hope the next step will be full EU membership for Croatia.