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    Croatian President and presidential candidate Ivo Josipovic casts his vote at a polling booth during the presidential run-off election in Zagreb

    Croatian Leader Ivo Josipovic Admits Defeat at Presidential Polls

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    Incumbent Croatian President Ivo Josipovic on Sunday admitted his defeat by challenger Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in the runoff presidential election and congratulated the newly-elected president.

    BELGRADE, January 12 (Sputnik) — Incumbent Croatian President Ivo Josipovic on Sunday admitted his defeat by challenger Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in the runoff presidential election, with a gap between the two at about one percent of the vote, according to Josipovic's election campaign headquarters.

    "Let me congratulate the newly-elected president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on her victory," the outgoing president said in a statement.

    Grabar-Kitarovic, Croatia's former foreign minister, nominated by the conservative opposition HDZ, is in the lead with 50.43 percent of votes, with 97.29 percent of ballots counted. Josipovic, the representative of the ruling center-left coalition, is behind with 49.57 percent of votes.

    Josipovic admitted his defeat, saying his challenger won in a fair "democratic competition", but stressed the gap was "very narrow".

    The presidential office in Croatia is largely seen as a ceremonial one. A president is elected for five years. Grabar-Kitarovic will be the first woman to lead the western Balkan country since its gained independence in 1991.

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    presidential elections, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Ivo Josipovic, Croatia
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