Leftist-green candidate elected mayor of Croatia’s capital

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — The candidate of a leftist-green coalition easily won election Sunday as mayor of Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, preliminary results showed, marking a major blow to the ruling conservatives in the European Union nation.

Tomislav Tomasevic got around 65% of the ballots, while right-wing candidate Miroslav Skoro won around 34%, the state Croatian television reported after all ballots were counted following Sunday’s runoff election.

“Thank you for your trust, hope, belief that real change is possible,” Tomasevic said after results came in. “That you for a clear mandate for a real change!”

Analysts have said the leftist-green coalition’s success in Zagreb showed people are fed up with traditional parties that have long dominated the political scene. Zagreb for two decades was governed by Milan Bandic, the late mayor who was investigated in several corruption scandals.

Runoff votes also were held in several other cities and towns where there were no clear winners after the first round of voting two weeks ago. Croatia’s 3.6 million voters also chose hundreds of municipal and city councils as well as district authorities throughout the European Union nation.

Leaders of the governing conservative Croatian Democratic Union said they were happy with the overall result despite failing to win Zagreb.

Croatia is best known for its stunning Adriatic Sea coast and islands that have become a major summer tourism destination in Europe.

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