Politics

Former Croatian PM wins presidential runoff

Zoran Milanovic beats conservative incumbent after winning 52.7% of vote

Mustafa Talha Ozturk   | 06.01.2020
Former Croatian PM wins presidential runoff

BELGRADE, Serbia

Social Democratic candidate Zoran Milanovic won the second round of Croatia's presidential election Sunday, beating conservative incumbent President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

"Welcome to the castle of victory. Politics is the work of love and patience," said Milanovic.

He thanked everyone who supported and did not support his candidacy, speaking at the party building in the capital, Zagreb.

"People are different. In this context, I will try to be the voice of everyone without hurting anyone. I will respect the differences," said Milanovic.

According to unofficial results announced by the State Election Commission (DIP), nearly all of the votes have been counted.

Based on the data, Milanovic has become Croatia's next president by winning 52.7% of the vote.

Grabar-Kitarovic meanwhile got 47.3%.

The turnout was around 55%.

Supporters of Milanovic celebrated the election victory on the streets of Zagreb.

Milanovic was born in Zagreb in 1966. He worked at the Zagreb Commercial Court for some time after graduating from the Faculty of Law at the University of Zagreb.

In 1993, he joined the Foreign Ministry, where he served in his country's Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), European Union and NATO missions.

Elected leader of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 2008, he served as prime minister between 2011-2016 after the party's alliance won the general elections in 2011.

After the 2015 general election, the parties were unable to form a coalition government for a long time, so early general elections were held in 2016. When the SDP failed to win these elections, Milanovic left the party chairmanship.

Milanovic, who had absent from politics for some time, returned to the political arena as the candidate of the SDP-led alliance in the presidential election.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. (0600GMT) for over 3.8 million registered voters to elect the country's next president.

Voters chose between Milanovic, who won 29.54% of the vote in the first round, and incumbent Grabar-Kitarovic of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), who won 26.67%.

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