ZAGREB (Reuters) - Croatia, the European Union's newest member, will hold a presidential election on Dec. 28, a government spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday.
Incumbent Ivo Josipovic, supported by the ruling Social Democrats, is seen as a frontrunner for the largely ceremonial post even though the government's failure to halt economic decline has eroded the party's popularity.
"The government will take a formal decision tomorrow and the date will be December 28," the spokesman said.
The former Yugoslav republic, which joined the EU in July last year, has had six years of recession with prospects of zero growth in 2015.
Josipovic, a jurist and composer of classical music, tops the opinion polls but may face a run-off poll against Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic from the conservative HDZ, the biggest opposition party, on Jan. 11. Grabar-Kitarovic is a former foreign minister and a NATO official.
The president has a say in foreign policy and is supreme commander of the armed forces, but has no power to veto laws.
(Reporting by Zoran Radosavljevic; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)