The politics of Croatia are by definition a parliamentary and representative democratic republic structure, where the PM leads the government in a multi-party system. The government and the President of Croatia exercise executive power. Croatia’s parliament (Sabor) vests legislative power. The Judiciary is independent of both the executive and the legislature. The Sabor approved the current Constitution of Croatia on 22 December 1990 and chose to proclaim its breakaway from Yugoslavia; the proclamation of independence became effective on 8 October 1991, and the constitution has since been revised several times. In the mid-19th century, the first modern parties came into being; their plan and appeal changed, mirroring important social reforms, such as the dissolution of Austria-Hungary, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, dictatorship and social turmoils in the kingdom, the Second World War, the establishment of Communism and the fragment of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
The President of the Republic (Predsjednik Republike) is the country’s head of state and the commander-in-chief of Croatia’s armed forces, and is elected directly to serve a term of five years. The PM, who has four deputy PMs (of whom three also are ministers of government) is in charge of the government (Vlada), Croatia’s chief executive power; additionally, seventeen ministers are responsible for specific activities. The executive branch’s duties are suggesting legislation and a budget, passing the laws, and supervising both the foreign and internal policies. The Croatian parliament is a unicameral legislative body. The number of delegates in the Sabor varies anywhere from 100 to 160, being elected through a popular vote to serve a term of four years. The legislature’s power comprises ratifying and changing the constitution and laws, approving the government budget, declaring war and peace, determining national borders, calling referenda and elections, appointments and release of officers, guiding Croatia’s government and other holders of public powers accountable to the Sabor, and granting official pardons. The Croatian constitution and legislation offers usual presidential and parliamentary elections (held separately), and electing county prefects and assemblies, and city and municipal mayors and councils.
The Constitution of Croatia and national legislation passed by the parliament govern a three-tiered, independent judicial structure. The Supreme Court (Vrhovni sud) is the most superior court of appeal in Croatia. Croatia has other specialised Croatian courts, such as commercial courts and the Superior Commercial Court, crime courts, the Superior Misdemenaour (Criminal) Court, the Administrative Court and the Croatian Constitutional Court (Ustavni sud). The State Attorney’s Office represents the nation in lawful arrangements.
Croatia is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic. Following the demise of the governing Communist Party, in Yugoslavia, Croatia approved a new constitution in 1991, adopted in place of the Socialist Republic of Croatia’s 1974 constitution, carrying out its first free and multi-party elections. The 1990 constitution remains in effect, but has been changed four different times since its approval: in 1997, 2000, 2001 and 2010. Croatia proclaimed independence from Yugoslavia on 8 October 1991, preceding Yugoslavia’s demise. In 1992, the United Nations internationally recognised Croatia as a sovereign nation. Under its 1990 constitution, Croatia functioned as a semi-presidential structure until it shifted to a parliamentary system in 2000. Government powers in Croatia are split into legislative, executive and judiciary powers. Croatia’s legal structure is civil law and, alongside the institutional framework, is heavily influenced by the legal legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. By the time Croatia concluded European Union accession negotiations on 30 June 2010, Croatian legislation was completely complemented with the Community acquis.
Office Since President: Ivo Josipović (Social 18 February 2010 Democratic Party of Croatia) Prime Minister: Zoran Milanović 23 December 2011 (Social Democratic Party of Croatia)
Capital (and largest city): Zagreb Official languages: Croatian Demonym: Croat, Croatian Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic President: Ivo Josipović Prime Minister: Zoran Milanović Speaker of Parliament: Josip Leko Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court: Jasna Omejec
The President of the Republic (Predsjednik Republike) serves as the head of state; directly elected, he or she serves a term of five years. He or she is the commander-in-chief of the military, has the practical task of naming the PM with the parliament’s permission by a simple majority vote, and bears, to some extent, an influence on the nation’s foreign policy. Ivo Josipović won the most recent presidential election, held on 10 January 2010; he took the oath of office on 18 February 2010. The constitution restricts the presidential office’s holders to a maximum of two terms, forbidding the president from being an affiliate of a specific party; accordingly, the president-elect terminates membership in a party prior to being sworn in, and President Josipović did so three days before he assumed office.
The government (Vlada), Croatia’s major executive power, is led by the PM, who has four Deputy PMs, of whom three are also ministers of government. With the Sabor’s permission, the PM nominates seventeen other ministers, who are liable for specific segments of activity. As of 23 December 2011, the three Deputy PMs are Radimir Čačić, Neven Mimica, Branko Grčić and Milanka Opačić; these three Deputy PMs are members of the Social Democratic Party of Croatia (SDP), the Croatian People’s Party – Liberal Democrats (HNS) and Istrian Democratic Assembly (IDS). The executive branch’s duties are approving legislation and a budget, enforcing the laws and directing the country’s foreign and domestic policies. The official residence of the Croatian government is at Banski dvori. Since 23 December 2011, Zoran Milanović is the PM.
The Parliament of Croatia (Sabor) is a unicameral legislative body. Pursuant to the 1990 constitution, a second chamber, the Chamber of Counties (Županijski dom) was added in 1993. The Chamber of Counties initially included three representatives from all twenty counties and the capital Zagreb. However, because it bared no realistic power over the Chamber of Representatives, it was dissolved in 2001 and its powers were shifted to the county governments. The number of envoys the Sabor may have range from 100- 160; all are elected through popular vote and serve a term of four years. 140 associates are elected in multi-seat constituencies; up to six associates are selected by proportional representation to represent Croatians living outside of Croatia and five associates represent ethnic and national communities or minorities. The two biggest parties in Croatia are currently the Social Democratic Party of Croatia and the Croatian Democratic Union. The last parliamentary election occurred on 4 December 2011 (Croatia only) and on 3-4 December 2011 (abroad).
The Sabor convenes in public conferences in two periods (the first runs from 15 January-30 June and the second runs from 15 September-15 December). The President of the Republic, the Speaker of Parliament, or the government may ask for additional gatherings. The legislature’s powers include enacting and reforming the Constitution, putting laws into effect, adopting the state budget, proclamations of war or peace, changing the nation’s borders, calling and carrying out referenda and elections, nominations and release from office, managing the Croatian government’s work as well as that of other holders of public powers liable to parliament, and granting pardons. With the exception of instances of constitutional matters, decisions are made based on a majority vote if over half of the Chamber is in attendance.
Croatia has a three-tiered, independent judicial structure and national legislation endorsed by the parliament. The Supreme Court (Vrhovni sud) is the uppermost court of appeal in Croatia; it has open hearings and verdicts are made in public, excluding instances in which the defendant’s privacy is to be defended. The National Judicial Council nominates judges; judicial office lasts until age seventy. The Supreme Court’s president is elected to a term of four years by the Croatian parliament at the President of the Republic’s recommendation. Since 2011, Branko Hrvatin is the president of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has both social and criminal departments. The lower two levels of the three-tiered judiciary comprise province and community courts. In Croatia, there are fifteen province courts and sixty- seven community courts.
In Croatia, there are other specialised courts: commercial courts and the Superior Commercial Court, crime courts that try minor felonies (i.e., traffic violations), the Superior Misdemeanour Court, the Administrative Court and the Croatian Constitutional Court (Ustavni sud). The Constitutional Court rules on topics dealing with following legislation with the constitution, abolishing unconstitutional or undemocratic legislation, reports any violation of the constitutions provisions to the government and the parliament, makes the parliament speaker acting president upon appeal from the government in case the president is injured, gives approval for initiation of criminal charges against or arrest of the president, and listens to requests opposing the National Judicial Council’s requests. The court comprises thirteen judges elected by parliament affiliates for a term of eight years; the judges listens to the Constitutional Court’s president for a term of four years. Jasna Omejec is the president of the Constitutional Court since June 2012. Eleven members, more specifically seven judges, two university professors of law and two MPs, serve in the National Judicial Council (Državno Sudbeno Vijeće); they are appointed and elected by the Parliament for a term of four years, and are limited to two terms. The National Judicial Council names every judge and court president, which does not include the Supreme Court’s case. Ranko Marijan, who also serves as a Supreme Court judge, is the National Judicial Council’s president since August 2012.
The State Attorney’s Office is responsible for representing Croatia in official processes. Mladen Bajić is the General State Attorney since August 2012; twenty-three representatives serve in the central office, and there are also lower-ranking state lawyers at fifteen region and thirty-three community State Attorney’s Offices. Parliament nominates the General State Attorney. In late 2001, a special State Attorney’s Office committed to fighting corruption and organised crime, USKOK, was established.
Social Democratic Party of Croatia (Socijaldemokratska partija Hrvatske, SDP) Croatian Democratic Union (Hrvatska demokratska zajednica, HDZ) Croatian People’s Party-Liberal Democrats (Hrvatska narodna stranka - liberalni demokrati, HNS) Croatian Labourists – Labour Party (Hrvatski laburisti - stranka rada, HL) Croatian Democratic Alliance of Slavonia and Baranja (Hrvatski demokratski savez Slavonije i Baranje, HDSSB) Istrian Democratic Assembly (Istarski demokratski sabor, IDS) Croatian Party of Pensioners (Hrvatska stranka umirovljenika, HSU) Independent Democratic Serb party (Samostalna demokratska srpska stranka, SDSS) Croatian Citizen Party (Hrvatska građanska stranka, HGS) Croatian Party of Rights dr. (Hrvatska stranka prava dr. Ante Starčević, HSP AS) Democratic Centre Ante Starčević (Demokratski centar, DC) Croatian Peasant Party (Hrvatska seljačka stranka, HSS)
Born 28 August 1957 in Zagreb. 3rd and current President of Croatia since 2010. Went into politics as an affiliate of the League of Communists of Croatia (SKH), playing a significant role in the democratic change of the party as the writer of the SDP’s first decree that succeeded the SKH-SKJ. Abandoned political life in 1994, but returned in 2003 as an independent MP. Apart from his political life, he has also worked as a university instructor, legal specialist, musician and composer. Rejoined the SDP in 2008 and entered the 2009-2010 presidential election as the official runner of that party. Defeated eleven challengers with 32.4% of the vote in the first round; entered the second round with independent nominee Milan Bandić who won 14.8%. Went from being widely unknown to the public in Croatia to acquiring 60.26% in the most recent election. Promoted Nova Pravednost (New Justice), advocating a new public and official structure to emphasize the deep social prejudices, bribery and organised crime, which includes defending individual rights and advancing basic values like fairness, human rights, LGBT rights, justice, diligence, social compassion and creativity. Was sworn in as the 3rd Croatian President on 18 February 2010 at St. Mark’s Square in Zagreb; his term officially commenced at midnight on 19 February.
Born 30 October 1966 in Zagreb. Leader of the centre-left Social Democratic Party of Croatia (SDP) and the 10th and current PM of Croatia since 23 December 2011. Both his father Stipe and his mother Gina have origins in Sinj; he has a brother named Krešimir. Attended the Center for Management and Judiciary (an elite high school). Was very energetic and level to fighting through his own admittance. Was admitted into the University of Zagreb to study law. Other than his native Croatian, he speaks English, French and Russian. Became an intern at the Zagreb Commercial Court after he graduated from college, and for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993; strangely enough, his future political opponent Ivo Sanader employed him. Was recruited into an OSCE peacekeeping operation in war-torn Azerbaijan, a year later, in the occupied region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Married Sanja Musić in 1994 and had two sons with her: Ante and Marko. Worked as a consultant at the Croatian mission to the EU and NATO in Brussels, in 1996; obtained his Masters Degree in EU law from a university there, in 1998. Subsequently returned to the Foreign Ministry the following year, when his term of office ended.
Born 19 September 1948 in Plavna. Current Speaker of the Parliament of Croatia since 10 October 2012. Was previously Deputy Speaker between 23 December 2011 and 30 September 2012; succeeded Boris Šprem, who died in office, as Interim Speaker. Was already acting Speaker during Šprem’s absence for cancer treatment in Houston, Texas. Was suggested as the lasting Speaker of Parliament by the governing coalition; was sworn in on 10 October 2012, through a vote of 123 out of 151 MPs.
President of the Constitutional Court of Croatia since 12 June 2008. Justice of the Constitutional Court of Croatia since 7 December 1999. Attended the University of Zagreb.
Widely referred to in Croatia as the Social Democratic Party for short; social democratic party and Croatia’s biggest left of centre party. Founded 3 November 1990; is the successor to the League of Communists of Croatia. One of the two main parties, together with the right of centre Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). Is the senior partner in the Kukuriku coalition (national affiliation). First gained power in 2000 and led a coalition government under the leadership of PM Ivica Račan. Went into opposition after their loss in the 2003 general election, and stayed in opposition for eight years. Claimed 61 (while one of them was elected as an independent, he/she has a seat in the SDP parliamentary club) out of 151 seats in the Croatian Parliament, in the most recent 2011 general election, making it Parliament’s biggest party. Has 5 out of 12 seats in the EP. Its current leader, Zoran Milanović, is the current PM of Croatia. Member of Socialist International (International affiliation) and Party of European Socialists (European affiliation).
Christian democratic and conservative party and central right of center party in Croatia. Founded 17 June 1989. One of the two largest parties in Croatia, alongside its left of centre rival Social Democratic Party (SDP). Is currently the second-biggest party in the Parliament of Croatia, holding 44/151 seats. Holds 3/12 seats in the EP. Ruled Croatia between 1990 and 2000 and again in a coalition between 2003 and 2011. Is a member of Christian Democrat International (CDI) and International Democratic Union (IDU), both international affiliations. Is an associate member of the European People’s Party (EPP), its European affiliation, and European parliamentary group.