Croatia (President) 2010
The runoff of the Croatian presidential election was held on January 10, 2010. The runoff for the rather symbolic office of President opposed Ivo Josipović of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) to the Independent/former SDP Mayor of Zagreb Milan Bandić.
The campaign between the two opponents was rather bloody, with Bandić notably accusing Josipović of being a puppet of the SDP’s leader, Zoran Milanović (a major rival of Bandić) and that he would be a ‘tele-guided’ President and not an ‘independent’ President. Somewhat interestingly, Bandić also used the issue of religion against the agnostic Josipović by claiming that he himself was a devout Catholic and had the support of the Church.
However, with most of the political establishment behind Josipović (except for the governing HDZ, which remained neutral) and only limited political support for Bandić, Bandić’s efforts were mostly last-ditch attempts and they didn’t pay off. He trailed by a large margin in all polls, notably by 17% in the last poll on January 7.
Ivo Josipović (SDP) 60.26%
Milan Bandić (Ind) 39.74%
Bandić’s only victory was in Lika-Senj County, which was the same county which HDZ candidate Andrija Hebrang won in the first round. Bandić, who was born in Bosnia and is a Bosnian Croat, did best in the coastal regions along the Adriatic – a lot of which is former Serbian Krajina territory and electorally the base of the HDZ. He also did well in various communities near the northern Bosnian border, a number of which were part of Serbian Krajina. That being said, his vote in those places was ethnically Croat: Bandić’s appeal as a rather right-wing populist candidate probably played a big role. The Serbian minority in Croatia, which is now only 5% or so but a majority in a number of municipalities, voted in large numbers for Josipović (such should be obvious. Croatian Serbs voting for a Bosnian Croat are things that cannot happen). For those who are interested by Balkan ethnic minorities (like me) please see this map of Serbs in Croatia and this map of the results by municipality. On the other hand, Josipović blew Bandić out of the water big time along the Slovenian border and in Istria (16.6% for Bandić), whose inhabitants’ political views are much more moderate, probably due to the history of the peninsula. In Zagreb, where Bandić is mayor, there was no favourite-son vote to be seen and Josipović won 62.2%: above national average. There was, however, a kind of favourite son vote from Croat citizens voting from Bosnia, winning 94.3% of the vote there.