Croatia Gets First Female President

Conservative Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic wins runoff election
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 11, 2015 4:40 PM CST
Croatia Gets First Female President
Voters cast their ballots at a polling station in Zagreb, Croatia, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015.   (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

A conservative populist become Croatia's first female president today after beating the center-left incumbent in a runoff election amid deep discontent over economic woes in the European Union's newest member. The state electoral commission said that with about 97% of the vote counted, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic won 50.54%, while President Ivo Josipovic had 49.46%. The result meant that Grabar-Kitarovic won by a slight margin of about 21,000 votes, mostly by Croats living abroad.

The presidency in Croatia is a largely ceremonial position, but the vote was seen as a major test for Croatia's center-left government, which is facing parliamentary elections later this year under a cloud of criticism over its handling of the economic crisis. The conservative triumph could shift Croatia back to right-wing nationalism, jeopardizing relations with its neighbors, including bitter Balkan wartime rival Serbia. Grabar-Kitarovic, a former foreign minister, ambassador to Washington, and assistant to the NATO secretary general, said during her victory speech that she "will work for Croatia, and I won't allow anyone saying that Croatia will not be a prosperous country." (Read more Croatia stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.