Croatian President Ivo Josipovic failed to win reelection in the first round as NATO official Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic forced a Jan. 11 runoff on a campaign to help the nation emerge from six years of recession.

Josipovic, a Social Democrat, won 39 percent, the state electoral commission said. Grabar Kitarovic, running for the main opposition party, the Croatian Democratic Union, took 37 percent. The other candidates, Milan Kujundzic and Ivan Sincic, got 6 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

The new head of state will have to work with the ruling Social Democrats to lead the country of 4.2 million people out of its longest recession on record. Croatia, which joined the European Union last year, has lost about 12 percent of gross domestic product since 2008, according to a World Bank report released this month. Unemployment in the same period has doubled. - Bloomberg