ZAGREB (Reuters) – The candidate of the top opposition party, the Social Democrats, and a former prime minister Zoran Milanovic leads in the second and decisive round of the Croatian presidential election, the State Electoral Commission said in its first preliminary results on Sunday.

After 54% of votes counted, the candidate of the Social Democrats and a former prime minister Zoran Milanovic got 54% of votes ahead of the incumbent centre-right Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the candidate of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), with 46% of votes.

The presidential role is to a large extent ceremonial as the head of state cannot veto laws, but has a say in foreign policy, defense and security matters.

The next president’s new five-year term begins in February.

Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Ivana Sekularac