Croatia’s President Milanovic To Seek Re-Election

Croatia’s populist President Zoran Milanovic declared on Wednesday that he intends to run for re-election to the mostly ceremonial position this year, just weeks after losing a bid for prime minister to his conversative rival Andrej Plenkovic.

Milanovic appeared to make the announcement spontaneously after being asked by media in Zagreb when he would declare his candidacy.

Milanovic responded: “Right now.”

The 57-year-old, who is running for a second term as president, said backing from the main opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) would be critical to his campaign.

“I will need it for a number of reasons, including organisational support and to prevent theft,” he informed me.

The presidential election date has not been decided, although it is expected to occur in December.

No other politicians have declared their candidacy.

Milanovic, the SDP’s nominee, was elected president in January 2020.

In recent years, he has used increasingly populist rhetoric in public, frequently attacking opponents, rivals, and European Union officials.

He consistently leads popularity polls in Croatia, despite criticism for using profanity in speeches and interviews.

Milanovic has criticized the EU’s attitude on Russia’s war in Ukraine, prompting his challenger Plenkovic to accuse him of having “pro-Russian views”.

Earlier this year, he startled the country by revealing plans to fight Plenkovic in legislative elections while serving as president.

Croatia’s highest court later prevented him from leading a new cabinet.

Milanovic has previously served as premier from 2011 till 2016.

In the April legislative elections, Plenkovic’s ruling HDZ party gained the majority of the seats and eventually formed a coalition government.

The vote came as the EU country of 3.8 million people grapples with a slew of issues, including corruption, a labor shortage, skyrocketing prices, and illegal immigration.

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