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Croatia Elects First Female President

  • VOA News

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarivic celebrates her victory in presidential elections, in Zagreb, Croatia, Jan. 11, 2015.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarivic celebrates her victory in presidential elections, in Zagreb, Croatia, Jan. 11, 2015.

Croatian conservative opposition candidate Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic won Sunday's presidential runoff election by a razor-thin margin and will become the country's first female president.

With nearly all votes counted, Croatia's election commission said Grabar-Kitarovic won 50.4 percent of the vote while incumbent Ivo Josipivic won 49.6.

Grabar-Kitarovic is a former foreign minister and was Croatia's ambassador to the United States. She has promised to work to boost the Croatian economy, one of the slowest economies in the European Union.

Unemployment in Croatia is about 20 percent and a recession is in its sixth year.

The Croatian presidency is a largely ceremonial job, but the president has the power to influence foreign policy and defense.

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