The opposition candidate of the Social Democrat Party, Ivo Josipović, has won Croatia's presidential election by a wide margin.
Mr Josipović won 60.3% of the vote in the second round run-off, beating the mayor of Zagreb, Milan Bandić.
Josipović has pledged to lead an 'uncompromising fight against corruption' and to help the government complete EU membership talks this year, with a view to acceding in 2012.
The 52-year-old law professor and classical music composer succeeds Stipe Mesić, who will step down in February after 10 years as president.
Addressing his supporters in Zagreb on Sunday evening after the official results were announced, Mr Josipović said his victory was for 'all honest people regardless of their voting preferences'. His opponent, Milan Bandić, was tarnished by corruption allegations during the campaign.
Josipović will have very little say in policy making, but will hope to take the country into the EU by 2012, becoming the bloc's 28th member.
He has been criticised for lacking charisma, but is likely to co-operate both with Brussels and the Croatian government, led by Jadranka Kosor, which has been urged to tackle corruption if its EU hopes are to be fulfilled.
Croatians have been largely unenthused by this election, reflected by the low turnout of 50.3%, slightly up on the first round, he adds.
Frustrated with widespread corruption, they have also been hard hit by the global financial crisis, with Croatia's economy likely to show barely any growth this year. Unemployment remains at around 16%.
11 January 2010