With voting underway in the Croatian presidential election, Stipe Mesic says he is ready to lead the country into European Membership.
If he wins the run-off vote it will give the 70-year-old a second five year term in office.
The woman he aims to beat is Jadranka Kosor, the ruling conservative’s candidate to be head of state.
She has appealed to female voters and tried to capture nationalist support by promising to protect Croatian interests.
The victor is expected to oversee the process of Croatia’s entry into the EU, with accession talks set to start in mid-March.
The former Yugoslav state could become part of the Brussels club by 2008.
An estimated 4.4 million voters will take part in today’s ballot, with results expected late this evening.