Former Croatian Prime Minister and the Socialist Democrat candidate Zoran Milanovic led in the first round of the country's presidential election with 58% of the votes counted, the State Electoral Commission said Sunday.
Milanovic got 30.8% of the votes ahead of the ruling center-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) candidate, incumbent President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic's 27.5%.
Independent candidate Miroslav Skoro, a popular singer with conservative nationalist-leaning, was third with 23% of the votes.
The first two out of 11 candidates will go to a run-off on Jan. 5, 2020.
The job of the Croatian president is ceremonial to a large extent as the head of state cannot veto laws, but has a say in foreign policy and defense matters. The president has a five-year term with the next one starting in February 2020.