Opposition Social Democrat Ivo Josipovic is to face independent Milan Bandic in a run-off vote for the Croatian presidency.
Josipovic, a law professor and composer attained 32 per cent of the vote but failed to win the 50 per cent required for an outright win. He will now contest a run-off second-round vote against his former party colleague, the influential mayor of Zagreb and former party colleague Milan Bandic who won nearly 15 per cent of the vote standing as an independent candidate.
Both men have pledged to back Croatia’s European membership bid which, it’s hoped, will be achieved in 2012.
The current President Stjepan Mesic voiced concern that not enough people had taken part in the poll.
“I am disappointed with the low turnout,” he said, “but it could have been expected. The election campaign failed to show advocacy of a vision of 21st century Croatia.”
Josipovic and Bandic beat the candidates from the ruling HDZ Party who only managed to come in third, fourth and fifth places.
Analysts say the result reflects the electorate’s discontent with low living standards, economic concerns and corruption claims, which drove voters towards the opposition candidates.