Croatian Presidential Contenders Register as Campaign Kicks Off

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic will start his campaign tomorrow for a Dec. 28 presidential election as frontrunner against a member from the main opposition party and two other contenders.

Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, a candidate for the Croatian Democratic Union, Milan Kujundzic, a medical doctor supported by a group of small conservative parties and independent candidate Ivan Sincic each collected enough signatures to qualify for the race, the election office said on its website today. The campaign officially starts at midnight tonight.

Croatia, which joined the European Union in 2013, has been in recession for six years, while unemployment reached 18.7 percent in October. The president has the duty to ensure the stability of the government, commands the armed forces and helps oversee foreign policy in cooperation with the prime minister, who holds most executive powers.

Josipovic, a Social Democrat, had 46 percent support in an Ipsos Puls poll for Nova TV in November. Grabar Kitarovic came second with 29 percent, while Kujundzic had 7.6 percent backing in the survey of 969 people. Should no candidate reach majority in the Dec. 28 vote, the two strongest contenders will proceed to a run-off scheduled for Jan. 11.

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