ZAGREB - Independent presidential candidate Boris Miksic said on Tuesday that he was impressed with yesterday's protest rallies of his disgruntled supporters, but that he distanced himself from the rallies held in front of the offices of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and presidential candidate Stjepan Mesic's flat. Miksic said that those rallies were staged after he left the main rally that was held in Zagreb's central square.

He said that some agents provocateurs were spotted at the rallies which they wanted to use for political purposes and their promotion.

He said that the protests would continue throughout the week and demanded that elections be repeated.

Miksic also said he would appeal to the Constitutional Court with regard to his objection to the State Election Commission which was rejected, and protested against not being enabled to have observers in the State Election Commission and to have the votes recounted.

He claimed that he was in possession of information on an election fraud in Mostar and believed that this was the main reason for differences in election results released by the State Election Commission.

Miksic said his claims about election irregularities were based on exit polls conducted by Puls and GfK agencies, which were carried by Croatian Television and Nova TV the entire Sunday evening shortly before and after the closure of polling stations.

According to those projections, Miksic had around 20 percent of votes and was second, while HDZ candidate Jadranka Kosor was third.

Since the State Election Commission is bound by the law not to publish election results before midnight on election day, the two TV stations broadcast the estimates of the two agencies during the entire evening on January 2.

Representatives of the two agencies told Hina yesterday that the error occurred because they did not have pollsters at polling stations abroad and because the voters who voted for Kosor refused to tell the pollsters for whom they had voted.

The two agencies did not cite these two exceptions when they published their first projections.

The State Election Commission yesterday dismissed as inappropriate and unfounded Miksic's claim that he was in a less favourable position than other presidential candidates and that he was not allowed to have observes in the Commission.