Voting is underway in Croatia to choose the country’s next president, with the economy, corruption and EU entry dominating the campaign.
The president has little direct influence over policy. But the ballot is seen as crucial, because the winner will guide Croatia through EU accession talks in the hope of joining the bloc in 2011.
Last month’s first-round vote failed to find an outright winner, but Social Democrat Ivo Josipovic remains the hot favourite.
The 52-year-old law professor and composer, who has campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, is currently running at between 52 and 55 percent in the polls.
Josipovic has been criticised for lacking charisma.
His only rival, the populist mayor of Zagreb, Milan Bandic, lags behind in the polls. However, he has staged a late charge after gaining support from the country’s powerful Roman Catholic Church.
Both candidates support Croatia’s entry into the EU, however fighting corruption remains a key requirement.
Hit hard by the economic crisis, the economy has also featured highly in the campaign, with unemployment hovering persistently at about 16 percent.