Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic won the 2015 Presidential elections of Croatia

Kolinda belongs to the conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party and is a former Assistant Secretary General at NATO and former Croatian ambassador to the United States.

Created On: Jan 12, 2015 18:15 ISTModified On: Jan 12, 2015 19:30 IST

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on 11 January 2015 won the 2015 Presidential elections of Croatia. Kolinda belongs to the conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party and is a former Assistant Secretary General at NATO and former Croatian ambassador to the United States.

She will take charge of the President office on 19 February 2015 thus becoming the first female President of Croatia.

In the presidential elections held on 28 December 2014, she bagged 50.4 percent of votes in the second round of voting. She defeated the incumbent President Ivo Josipovic of Social Democrat Party who got 49.6 percent votes.

Second round of voting was held after no candidate received 50 percent of the vote in the first round.

Capitalising on popular discontent

She won the elections by a slight margin of about 21000 votes which were fought in the backdrop of popular discontent over economic decline in Croatia.

After six years of recession, unemployment is running at 19 percent which joined the European Union July 2014. High taxes and poor administration have hampered business and the economy is not expected to grow in 2015.

The results are a sign that Croatia may be shifting to the right after the centre-left coalition's failure to end six years of downturn.

Political Implications

Even though the presidency in Croatia is a largely ceremonial position, but the results are considered an important test for the main political parties before the parliamentary elections expected late 2015.

Further the victory for Grabar – Kitarovic greatly boosts the chances of her centre-right Croatian Democratic Union to win back power.

The HDZ ruled Croatia from its first democratic election in 1990 until its founder, President Franjo Tudjman, died in December 1999. Since then it has alternated in power with the Social Democrats, but has never regained the presidential post.

About the Croatian President

Croatia’s presidency is largely ceremonial. The President of the Croatia is the head of state and the commander in chief of the armed forces.

The Croatian president also has a say in foreign policy but running the country is primarily left to the government.

It is the president who has the procedural duty of appointing the prime minister of country with the consent of the parliament.

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