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    Croats go to polls to vote in presidential runoff

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    Croats are voting on Sunday in a presidential runoff with a leftist opposition candidate running against the populist Zagreb mayor.

    Croats are voting on Sunday in a presidential runoff with a leftist opposition candidate running against the populist Zagreb mayor.

    The first round of the election on December 27 was won by Social Democrat Ivo Josipovic, a 52-year-old law professor and classical music composer, who gained 32.4% of the votes. He failed, however, to gain an outright majority in the first round to win the election.

    His challenger in the presidential runoff is the incumbent Zagreb mayor, Milan Bandic, who is running as an independent.

    Opinion polls indicate that Josipovic who vowed to fight firmly against crime and corruption has a solid lead over his challenger.

    Both candidates support Croatia's goal to complete talks this year on the country's accession to the European Union and become the bloc's member by 2012.

    The winner will succeed incumbent President Stjepan Mesic who steps down on February 18 after serving two five-year terms.

    ZAGREB, January 10 (RIA Novosti)

     

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