ZAGREB, Croatia — Croatia's pro-Western president failed to win an outright majority for reelection Sunday, forcing him to face a runoff vote in two weeks.
President Stipe Mesic got 49.03% of the vote -- just short of the majority needed to win a second term, the Electoral Commission said after more than 99% of the votes were counted. His main rival, Jadranka Kosor of the Croatian Democratic Union, which has a majority in parliament and controls the prime ministership, had 20%. Both strongly support Croatia's efforts to join the European Union this decade.
The 70-year-old incumbent declared the results a "brilliant victory" and voiced confidence that he would win the runoff Jan. 16.
"I led Croatia to the doors of [mainstream] Europe, and I will lead it into it," Mesic said, to euphoric cheers from his supporters.
Kosor, 51, also expressed confidence.
"There's something else that makes me happy -- a woman is in the runoff," she said. "I'm sure Croatia is mature enough to finally have a female president."