December 20, 2019

How Europe’s Top Christmas Market Could Swing an Election
(Bloomberg) -- Frequently named Europe’s best, the Christmas market in Croatia’s capital is bringing little festive cheer to the country’s president this year.The issue for Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic as she heads into elections on Sunday is a video of her handing a cake and singing ‘happy birthday’ to Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic, who’s at the center of a scandal over preferential access at the city’s mulled wine and trinket stalls.Kitarovic, a former NATO executive, had been riding high on a carefully managed image as a globe-trotting diplomat. She was also the face of Croatia with her enthusiastic support during the national soccer team’s historic run to the World Cup final last year.But the storm over the market is turning the election into a close race.For the European Union’s newest member-state, even the whiff of murky dealings is bad. The Adriatic nation of 4.2 million people, which joined the bloc in 2013, is pushing to adopt the euro and has seen corruption concerns delay similar efforts in nearby Bulgaria.Other Balkan countries also targeting EU membership won’t benefit either.It’s not the first time Kitarovic has flirted with controversy. Previous instances include claiming Croatia’s World War II-era Nazi salute was just a historical greeting -- a position she later reversed -- and the appearance at her inauguration of a right-wing media personality convicted of paying prostitutes and using cocaine to do so.Then there’s the bizarre. Kitarovic has begun singing at some official meetings and was recently mocked on social media for vaguely claiming she’d stuck a deal with “some countries” for young Croats to earn 8,000 euros ($9,000) a month “via the internet.”“All this begs a question: Who is Kitarovic?” said Tvrtko Jakovina, a contemporary history professor at the University of Zagreb. “Is she a skilled international diplomat and fighter for women’s rights, as she presents herself abroad? Or is she someone who doesn’t know her country’s past and is friendly with characters who see laws as obstacles.”The latest headlines have hurt the 51-year-old incumbent, who’s polling only slightly ahead of ex-Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and right-wing newcomer Miroslav Skoro, a popular folk singer, before the first round of voting. A runoff is almost certain two weeks later.While the president’s role is largely ceremonial, defeat for Kitarovic could reverberate through the government of Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who’s backed her strongly and would risk unrest from within the ruling Croatian Democratic Union.Plenkovic has enough on his plate as he tries to rein in a bulging bureaucracy, stem outflows of workers to richer EU nations and improve corruption that’s seen as the bloc’s fifth-worst in Transparency International’s latest annual survey.After years of stagnation, the economy is expanding at a steady 3%, below the pace of other eastern EU members.While vowing to continue beating the drum for Croatia abroad, Kitarovic has also created a “traveling office” so she can meet citizens in smaller towns back home. Milanovic, from the opposition Social Democrats, is pushing a more conventional center-left agenda, while Skoro is running on a nationalist platform.All three have promised things beyond the scope of the presidency.But it’s Kitarovic’s integrity, not her policy agenda, that’s come into question. And she’s doubled down on her support of Bandic, who’s fought graft accusations for much of his career, since the clip with him surfaced.If he’s convicted for alleged abuse-of-office, she said she’ll “bring him cookies in jail.”To contact the reporter on this story: Jasmina Kuzmanovic in Zagreb at jkuzmanovic@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrea Dudik at adudik@bloomberg.net, Andrew Langley, Balazs PenzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Necessary Realness: Will Morgan Survive the Dalgona Game? | E! News
October 16, 2021
QZJoaCiO3sA
Selena Gomez Says This Social Media Move "Saved My Life" | E! News
October 15, 2021
6DoqMGH3bRQ
Salma Hayek Explains Why Angelina Jolie SMASHED Her Face Into Cake | E! News
October 15, 2021
gTZPVmxRMfU
Kim Kardashian and Kanye Likely Won't Reconcile, She Now Owns Family Home | TMZ TV
October 15, 2021
attkYidh_Z8
Joe Rogan Stands Up to CNN | The TMZ Podcast
October 15, 2021
WgmPhCjlGoc
'The Masked Singer' Jester Costume Bulge Too Hot for TV | TMZ TV
October 15, 2021
0lnS7Gmu7O8
Jamie Lee Curtis talks 'Halloween Kills' and Laurie Strode's Legacy
October 14, 2021
-xyHjfTA2SY
Nicholas Braun, Jeremy Strong, Brian Cox and the cast of ‘Succession’ on the Red Carpet
October 14, 2021
O19yMBvhR48
Dave Chappelle Ignites Controversy, 'Halloween Kills' Hits Theaters | The Take
October 14, 2021
xOIUz0WuFS8
Vicki Gunvalson accuses ex Steve Lodge of cheating, lying and using her | Page Six Celebrity News
October 15, 2021
3RB_p9_FZ-Y
Katey Sagal hit by car while crossing the street, taken to hospital | Page Six Celebrity News
October 15, 2021
5kT2IIVMy0o
Erika Jayne’s threat to Sutton Stracke has been revealed & more from this week on Bravo | Page Six
October 15, 2021
X0y9D9aOBDQ
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
19
Nov
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group H
Sydney FC - Shanghai SIPG
17
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Spain - Germany
14
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Germany - Ukraine
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Liverpool
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Aston Villa
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Valencia - Real Madrid
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Verona
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Bromwich Albion - Tottenham Hotspur
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Napoli
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Roma
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Inter Milan
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - Juventus
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Borussia Monchengladbach
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Wolves
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Wolfsburg - Hoffenheim
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Athletic Bilbao
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Levante - Alaves
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Granada CF
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Torino - Crotone
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Villarreal
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bayern Munich
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Manchester United
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Sheffield United
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Cadiz
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Real Betis
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Augsburg - Hertha Berlin
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Stuttgart - Eintracht Frankfurt
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
RB Leipzig - SC Freiburg
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Rotherham - Preston NE
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Fiorentina
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Watford - Coventry
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Swansea City
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - QPR
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Derby County - Barnsley
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Luton
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Nottingham Forest - Wycombe Wanderers
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Fulham
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Sheffield Wednesday - Millwall
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Brentford - Middlesbrough
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Bournemouth
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Sevilla - Osasuna
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Benevento - Spezia
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Leeds
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Ferencvaros - Juventus
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Barcelona - Dynamo K.
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group A
Salzburg - Bayern Munich
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group D
Atalanta - Liverpool
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.