Editorials 17.7.2018 08:40 am

Croatian leader is a breath of fresh air

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, left, with French President Emmanuel Macron after the final of World Cup 2018 in Moscow, 15 July 2018. Picture: Twitter

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, left, with French President Emmanuel Macron after the final of World Cup 2018 in Moscow, 15 July 2018. Picture: Twitter

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic paid her own way to attend the World Cup, sat among fans instead of in VIP suites and flew economy class.

Croatia’s captain, Luka Modric, may have won the Golden Ball award for the player of the Fifa World Cup tournament, but it was his president, the effervescent Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who stole the hearts of many around the world at the end-of-match presentations.

Smiling broadly despite being soaked in the Moscow downpour, the Croatian head of state warmly embraced all players from her side, as well as their triumphant opponents, the team from France.

She did the same with her French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron.

When the questions began to be asked about who this woman was – she earlier gave a Croatian team shirt as a gift to Russian President Vladimir Putin – it emerged that she had been to all the Croatian team’s matches, bar one, paying her own way.

She travelled in economy class with fans and often sat in the “ordinary” stands rather than the VIP suites.

We bet she doesn’t roar around in a 20-vehicle “blue light” convoy, or have scores of cops as her presidential protection, as happens in this country.

It may well be all marketing and PR hype, but it was good to watch.

Grabar-Kitarovic is a president we wouldn’t mind following…

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