- Title: CROATIA: VOTERS GO TO THE POLLS IN COUNTRY'S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
- Date: 16th January 2005
- Summary: (W4) ZAGREB, CROATIA (JANUARY 16, 2005) (REUTERS) 1. LIBERAL PRESIDENT STJEPAN MESIC ENTERING POLLING STATION 0.22 2. MESIC RECEIVING HIS VOTING CARD; CASTING HIS VOTE BEHIND SCREEN AND PUTTING VOTE INTO BALLOT BOX 1.03 3. MESIC LEAVING POLLING STATION AND GETTING INTO CAR 1.24 4. CARS LEAVING 1.32 5. CROATIAN DEMOCRATIC UNION (HDZ), DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER JADRANKA KOSOR ENTERING POLLING STATION 1.53 6. CU: ELECTORAL LIST 1.59 7. KOSOR WALKING TOWARDS BALLOT BOX; POSTING HER VOTE AND WALKING AWAY 2.37 8. VOTERS QUEUING TO RECEIVE BALLOT PAPERS 2.51 9. VOTERS CASTING THEIR VOTES 3.00 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 31st January 2005 12:00
- Location: ZAGREB, CROATIA
- Country: Croatia
- Reuters ID: LVAAWL2ELE32H7HE6WDUA08PSGXB
- Story Text: Croats vote as liberal president is set for re-election.
Croatians voted on Sunday (January 16) in
presidential elections likely to give incumbent Stjepan
Mesic, credited with putting the former Yugoslav republic
on the road towards the European Union, a second term.
Mesic clearly won the first round of voting two weeks
ago but failed to gain an outright majority, forcing a
runoff against the candidate of the ruling centre-right
Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Deputy Prime Minister
The winner of the election looks set to oversee the
country's EU entry, planned for 2009.
Both contenders back EU membership, but whereas the
ruling conservatives have only recently adopted pro-Western
policies after a prolonged flirt with hardline nationalism,
Mesic is seen at home and abroad as a guarantor of
Croatia's EU drive.
Kosor, a close ally of Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, has
called on Croats to elect her as the first woman president.
But she has also tried to woo the nationalist camp by
vowing to be a tough defender of national interests.
Western diplomats say the outcome will not affect
Croatia's EU bid, as presidential powers are limited to
having a say in foreign policy, defence and intelligence.
But they see 70-year-old Mesic as a useful
counterweight to the HDZ, which controls cabinet and
parliament, and praise him for his courage in denouncing
war crimes committed by Croats during wars that tore apart
Croatia is due to start EU accession talks on March 17,
if it cooperates fully with the United Nations war crimes
tribunal, particularly by tracking down fugitive general
Mesic emerged as the surprise winner of a landmark
ballot in 2000, replacing the late Franjo Tudjman, who led
Croatia to independence but was later ostracised by the
West for his nationalism.
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