Presidential Election Campaign Heating Up

Total Croatia News

Almost two years before the election, the current President and a former Prime Minister appear to be the favourites.

Although there are still two years left until the next presidential elections, scheduled for late 2019 or early 2020, rumours are intensifying about several potential candidates. One of them is former Prime Minister and SDP president Zoran Milanović, who has not yet announced whether he would run, although he has started regularly commenting on current events lately, and seems to be trying to move towards the political centre, reports N1 on January 10, 2018.

The opposition party is slowly coalescing around an idea that they should have a joint candidate who could defeat current President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović. Two years before the presidential election, President Grabar Kitarović has still not officially announced that she plans to run for the second term, although her actions show that she is already in pre-campaign mode.

Former Prime Minister Milanović also doesn’t want to confirm whether or not he will run, but he doesn’t deny it either. “I’m not thinking about it, and I don’t know if I’ll enter the presidential race. I went into politics and became the party president as an outsider,” said Milanović.

Just as Kolinda Grabar Kitarović needs HDZ’s support for a successful campaign, Milanović expects to be supported by SDP, which is supposed to elect its own candidate in an internal party election process. “If Milanović decides to run, I believe that a large part of SDP members would support such a decision. I think that Milanović would be acceptable to both the left-wing and the right-wing voters,” said optimistically Joško Klisović, Milanović’s supporter and Deputy Foreign Minister in his government.

MOST briefly commented that the voters would decide whether or not Milanović would be a good candidate for president, adding that they had not yet decided whether they would offer their own candidate. “What is certain is that Božo Petrov has a lot of support among citizens. He is never mentioned on the lists of unpopular politicians,” said MOST’s Nikola Grmoja, in reference to the MOST president and former Speaker of Parliament.

Živi Zid leader Ivan Sinčić was a candidate in 2015 and says he could enter the race again.

“I’m not thinking about it, but I’ve learned never to say a definite no,” said Anka Mrak Taritaš, from the liberal GLAS party, also a former member of Milanović’s government, adding that the opposition should have just one candidate. “If our ultimate goal is for Kolinda Grabar Kitarović not to be elected to the second term, then we must fight for the final goal, and it is not important who is smarter and who has a better candidate,” said Mrak Taritaš, who is often mentioned as a possible candidate herself.

In the last presidential elections, there were just four candidates. It seems likely that in late 2019, there will be many more.

For a candidate to be elected, they need to win over 50 percent of votes in the first round. If no candidate succeeds, which is likely, the second round is held two weeks later with the two best-placed candidates from the first round.

The issue of presidential elections is sure to dominate the next two years of Croatian politics, which is somewhat absurd, given the fact that the post is mostly ceremonial and that, once elected, presidents usually do not do much, except complain about the lack of legal authority to do anything. There are proposals that presidents should instead be elected by Parliament, which would eliminate long campaigns in which candidates travel the country and give numerous ambitious promises, which are later inevitably broken. Just like the majority of reasonable proposals, it is unlikely to be accepted.


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