Presidential hopefuls had until midnight on Tuesday to submit to the Electoral Commission at least 10 thousand signatures supporting their candidacies to get their names on the ballot.
Eleven candidates managed to deliver the petitions before the deadline. The Commission will now review the signatures and announce which names have been cleared to appear on the ballot for the first round of voting on December 22. So, let's take a look at the eleven, still unofficial, candidates.
First, there is the incumbent, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who is seeking a second term as the HDZ's candidate.
"A better Croatia is right here among us, among our people, here in Croatia and all around the world. That is why I am going to be your president. Croatia knows how and must be better,” the President told supporters at a rally recently.
She turned in the largest number of signatures, 230 thousand. She is a likely choice for conservative-leaning voters, but she is facing some challengers from the right this time around. They may syphon off some voters who traditionally vote for the HDZ.
Former Prime Minister Zoran Milanović is running as the candidate of the largest opposition party, the Social Democrats.
He says he plans to be an advocate for the people, "I'm going to be a kind of high ombudsman for Croatia and its people. This where the president can do the most good, tirelessly speaking out about problems and mistakes."
Singer Mirosav Škoro has dabbled in politics as an MP for the HDZ, but this is his first attempt at a serious run without the HDZ’s infrastructure. He's a conservative populist and may appeal to some HDZ voters with his espousal of traditional values and a few hard-right positions on certain issues.
He’s calling on voters to help him take the elections in the first round, “We live in a country under a reign of fear. I encourage everyone to vote on the 22 of December so that we can break through this fear in the first round!
Former judge and now Croatian MEP Mislav Kolakušić is also throwing his name into the pot. He's calling for radical change, a crack-down on corruption, but also for less government.
“We must hit the reset button on society. We have to downsize the state administration and develop the economy. No country can survive on tourism alone."
Ivan Pernar, the former Živi zid MP best-known for his wild outbursts and being carried out by guards from the debate chamber in Parliament after being ejected several times, is accusing the media of not taking his candidacy seriously.
"The only people supporting me are citizens who have chosen to stand by me in this unfair race!"
The Croatian Socio-Liberal Party is running their own presidential candidate, Dean Kovač, an economist with little name recognition among the public.
"In contrast to my opponents, I will not be running on divisions, but on a policy of unification,” he says.
After concluding that no one in the field was right enough, Former Party of Rights leader Anto Đapić has jumped into the race, declaring himself the only true hard-right candidate.
"I am the candidate who will be the protector of Croatian identity, without which there can be no prosperity or a future," he says.
Nedjelko Babić is running as a pan-Croatian candidate. He says he is a man of the people for the people, while Katarina Peović is the hard-left candidate from the Worker's Front.
"For the first time in the presidential election, voters will be able to cast their vote for a socialist," she says.
And then there is the candidate for whom we still don't know how his name will appear on the ballot. Namely, filmmaker and activist Dario Juričanin is fighting a legal battle to change his name to Milan Bandić, the name of the Mayor of Zagreb. Bandić recently sued to stop him but a court found that the Mayor did not have an exclusive claim to the name. The case is still in the courts. Juričanin is best known for his documentary about the former Agrokor tycoon Ivica Todorić. He has taken trolling the mayor to an artform, by running on with the slogan "Corruption for everyone, not just the chosen few!"
Dalija Orešković, the former president of the Conflict of Interest Commission, is running on an anti-corruption platform. She says she wants to liberate the state from the shackles of the corrupt political elites and return it back to the people.
The Electoral Commission will publish the official list of candidates on Thursday.
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