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North Oaks man running for president in Croatia

Boris Miksic, a business owner who lives in North Oaks, is running for president in his native Croatia and thinks he has a chance this time, says the White Bear Press.

Miksic, who also ran for president in Croatia five years ago and came in either second or third — their vote-counting methods are a bit primitive — owns a manufacturing company in White Bear Township with annual sales of $50 million.

A Croatian publication wrote about Miksic’s plans last winter, noting that he came to the United States in 1974 with $37 in his pocket. While building his business, he kept involved in Croatian politics and has actually served on the Zagreb City Council since 2005, spending a week each month in Croatia.

Voting fraud was a big problem last time, he says, but he has confidence things will be better in the upcoming election, expected to be in January although no date has been set, he told the White Bear paper.

“We’re going to have observers making sure that the vote count is done correctly,” he said. There are about 1,600 polling sites in Croatia, he said. “We’ll have our own observers in each and every one of them. That’s a big job logistically, but we want to have an organization in place to prevent the kind of fixing that was going on five years ago.”

Beyond that, he said, the field isn’t quite as tough as it was back then.

“My opponents are pretty weak this time,” he said. “They really don’t have any major names running for this office, so the competition is much weaker than when I was up against an incumbent.”

Sanja Bogovic, director of the New York City-based newspaper Croatian Chronicle, which covers Croatian news, told the White Bear paper:

“His coming in third (in 2005) was really a success, because he was a completely new face over there,” she said. “And between that time and now, he’s built a factory there and employed a lot of people. I think people will pay attention to that, especially because of the economy.”

She said she thinks Miksic is well regarded in Croatia — and even more so by Croatian-Americans. She agreed his U.S. connection could help him.

“He’s very popular in local communities. I think people do believe that his experience outside of the country could really help Croatia, and they like that he wants to share his knowledge and success with them,” Bogovic said. “He’s really succeeded by himself — he didn’t build his life on a political career.”

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