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World > Europe > Croatia > Government and Political Conditions (Notes)

Croatia - Government and Political Conditions (Notes)


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
The Croatian Parliament, also known as the Sabor, became a unicameral body after its upper house (Chamber of Counties) was eliminated by constitutional amendment in March 2001. The remaining body, the Chamber of Representatives, consists of 152 members who serve 4-year terms elected by direct vote. The Sabor meets twice a year--from January 15 to July 15 and from September 15 to December 15.

The powers of the legislature include enactment and amendment of the constitution, passage of laws, adoption of the state budget, declarations of war and peace, alteration of the boundaries of the republic, and carrying out elections and appointments to office. During the parliamentary elections of January 2000, six parties united to form a coalition government--Social Democratic Party of Croatia (SDP), Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS), Croatian Peasant Party (HSS), Istrian Democratic Assembly (IDS), Liberal Party (LS), and Croatian People's Party (HNS). The IDS left the coalition in June 2001. In July 2002, the HSLS left the coalition, after which it split into two parties, Libra and the HSLS. Libra remained in the coalition. As a result of the parliamentary elections in November 2003, the HDZ formed a government in coalition with the Pensioners Party (HSU), Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS), and all ethnic minority representatives in the Sabor.

Stjepan Mesic was re-elected President in February 2005. The president is the head of state and is elected by direct popular vote for a term of 5 years. The president is limited to serving no more than two terms. In addition to being the commander in chief, the president appoints the prime minister and cabinet members with the consent of Parliament. Following the death of President Tudjman, the powers of the presidency were curtailed and greater responsibility was vested in Parliament.

HDZ President Ivo Sanader assumed the office of Prime Minister in December 2003. The prime minister, who is nominated by the president, assumes office following a parliamentary vote of confidence in the new government. The prime minister and government are responsible for proposing legislation and a budget, executing the laws, and guiding the foreign and internal policies of the republic.

After the resignation of Miomir Zuzul, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic became Foreign Minister on February 17, 2005. The Ministries of Foreign Affairs and European Integration were merged under her leadership. In addition, Damir Polancec was named Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, and Neven Ljubicic replaced Andrija Hebrang as Minister of Health. In February 2006, Ana Lovrin was named Minister of Justice.

Croatia has a three-tiered judicial system, consisting of the Supreme Court, county courts, and municipal courts. Croatia's Supreme Court is the highest court in the republic. The Supreme Court assures the uniform application of laws. Members of the high court are appointed by the National Judicial Council, a body of 11 members, and justices on the Supreme Court are appointed for life. The court's hearings are generally open to the public.

The Constitutional Court is a body of 13 judges appointed by Parliament for an 8-year term. The Constitutional Court works to assure the conformity of all laws to the constitution.

Principal Government Officials
President--Stjepan Mesic
Prime Minister--Ivo Sanader
Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs--Damir Polancec
Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of the Family, Veterans' Affairs and Intergenerational Solidarity--Jadranka Kosor
Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration--Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Minister of Defense--Berislav Roncevic

Croatia maintains an embassy in the United States at 2343 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC, 20008-2853, tel. (202) 588-5899, fax: (202) 588-8936. Consulates General of the Republic of Croatia are located in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Honorary consulates are located in St. Paul, New Orleans, Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City.


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Croatian Kuna Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Croatian Kuna Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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