President of Croatia


President of Croatia
President of
the Republic of Croatia
Predsjednik Republike Hrvatske
Presidential Flag of Croatia.svg
Presidential Standard
Incumbent
Ivo Josipović

since February 18, 2010
Residence Predsjednički dvori
Term length Five years, renewable once
Inaugural holder Franjo Tuđman
Formation December 22, 1990
Salary 23,500 kuna /month
Website www.predsjednik.hr
Croatia

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The President of Croatia (Croatian: Predsjednik Hrvatske), officially styled the President of the Republic (Croatian: Predsjednik Republike) represents the Republic of Croatia in the country and abroad as the head of state, maintains regular and coordinated operation and stability of the national government system and safeguards independence and territorial integrity of the country. The president calls elections for the Parliament of Croatia (Croatian: Hrvatski Sabor) as well as referenda. The president also appoints prime ministers, on the basis of balance of power in the parliament, grants pardons and awards decorations and other forms of state awards. The President of Croatia and the government cooperate in area of Croatian foreign policy, and the president is the commander-in-chief of the Croatian Armed forces while directing operation of the Croatian security and intelligence system jointly with the government. The president may dissolve the parliament as provided by the constitution. Although enjoying immunity, the president is impeachable for any violation of the constitution. In case of incapacitation to discharge duties of the office, the Speaker of the parliament assumes office of acting president until the president resumes the duty or until a new election and inauguration of the president. The inauguration ceremony is held at St. Mark's Square in Zagreb, in front of the St. Mark's Church, halfway between the parliament and Banski dvori—seat of the government.

The Office of the President of the Republic (Croatian: Ured Predsjednika Republike) consists of the immediate staff of the president of Croatia, as well as support staff reporting to the president, and it was established by a presidential decree by Franjo Tuđman on 19 January 1991. The office employs advisors to the president and comprises eight departments, four councils, presidential pardon commission and two decorations and awards commissions. The office is headquartered in the Presidential Palace (Croatian: Predsjednički dvori) in Pantovčak are of Zagreb.

The president is elected on the basis of universal suffrage through a secret ballot for a five year term. If no candidate in the elections secures more than 50% of the votes, a runoff election is held in 14 days. The Constitution of Croatia sets limit to the maximum two terms in the office and requires elections date to be determined within 30 to 60 days before expiry of term of the incumbent president and the president-elect is required to take an oath of office before the judges of the Constitutional Court. Franjo Tuđman won the first Croatian presidential elections in 1992 and 1997. During his reign, the constitution of 1990 provided for a semi-presidential system. After his death in 1999, the constitution was amended and much of the presidential powers were transferred to the parliament and the government. Stjepan Mesić won two consecutive terms, in 2000 on Croatian People's Party (HNS) ticket and in 2005, the maximum permitted by the constitution. Ivo Josipović, an SDP candidate, won the presidential elections held in December 2009 and January 2010.

The Constitution of Croatia defines appearance and use of the presidential standard as a symbol of the President of Croatia, and appearance and use of the presidential sash as a symbol of honour of the office of the president. The presidential standard is flown on buildings of the Office of the President of Croatia, residence of the president and transportation vehicles when in use by the president, and in other ceremonial occasions. The constitution specifies that the sash is worn on the Statehood Day, during awards ceremonies, during acceptance of letters of credence and in other ceremonial occasions, however the presidential sash was not in use since 2000 inauguration of Stjepan Mesić.

Contents

Powers, duties and responsibilities

The President of Croatia, officially styled the President of the Republic (Croatian: Predsjednik Republike) represents the Republic of Croatia in the country and abroad as the head of state, maintains regular and coordinated operation and stability of the national government system and safeguards independence and territorial integrity of the country. The president is barred from executing any other public or professional duty while in office.[1]

The President of Croatia calls elections for the Parliament of Croatia (Croatian: Hrvatski Sabor) and convenes the first meeting of the parliamentary assembly. The president is also required to appoint a prime minister, on the basis of balance of power in the parliament. The appointed candidate is in turn required to seek confirmation of the parliament through a confidence vote to receive a mandate to lead the Government of Croatia. The president may also call referenda, grant pardons and award decorations and other forms of recognition defined by legislation.[1]

Foreign affairs

The President of Croatia and the Government cooperate in formulation and implementation of Croatian foreign policy. This provision of the constitution is occasional source of conflict between the president and the government.[2] The president decides on the establishment of diplomatic missions and consular offices of the Republic of Croatia abroad, at the Government's proposal and with the counter-signature of the Prime Minister. The president, following prior counter-signature of the Prime Minister, appoints and recalls diplomatic representatives of the Republic of Croatia, at the proposal the Government and upon receiving opinion of an applicable committee of the parliament. The president receives letters of credence and the letters of recall from foreign diplomatic representatives.[1]

National security and defense

The President of Croatia is the commander-in-chief of the Armed forces of the Republic of Croatia and appoints and relieves of duty military commanders, conforming to applicable legislation. Pursuant to decisions of the parliament, the president declares war and concludes peace. In cases of immediate threats to the independence, unity and existence of the state, the president may order use of the armed forces even if no state of war is declared, provided that such an order is countersigned by the prime minister. During a state of war the president may promulgate regulations with the force of law on the basis of, and within the scope of, authority obtained from the parliament. In such circumstances, the president may convene government cabinet meetings and preside over them. If the parliament is not in session, the president is authorized to regulate all matters required by the state of war through regulations carrying the force of law. In case of an immediate threat to the independence, unity and existence of the state, or if the governmental bodies are prevented from performing their constitutional duties regularly, the president may, at the proposal of the prime minister, issue regulations carrying the force of law. Such regulations also have to be countersigned by the prime minister to become valid. The president is required to submit thus promulgated regulations to the parliament for approval as soon as the parliament may convene, otherwise the regulations become void. The president cooperates with the government directing operation of the Croatian security and intelligence system. The president and the prime minister jointly appoint heads of the security agencies, and the president may attend cabinet meetings, taking part in discussions held at such meetings.[1]

Dissolution of Parliament

The President of Croatia may dissolve the parliament upon request of the government. That decision must be countersigned by the prime minister to become valid. The president may also dissolve the parliament after a motion of no confidence supported by majority of the parliament members, or if the parliament fails to approve the government budget within 120 days after the budget is proposed in the parliament. However, the president may not dissolve the parliament at request of the government if a procedure to determine if the president has violated provisions of the constitution is in progress.[1]

Office of the President of Croatia

The main conference rook in the Presidential Palace
Lobby of the Presidential Palace
Honour Guard in front of the Presidential Palace normally welcomes foreign heads of state

The Office of the President of the Republic (Croatian: Ured Predsjednika Republike) consists of the immediate staff of the President of Croatia, as well as support staff reporting to the president. As of May 2008, the office employed 170 staff with the maximum staffing level set at 191 by the Regulation on Internal Organisation of the Office of the President of Croatia.[3] In 2009 government budget, the office was allocated 54 million kuna (c. 7.3 million euro).[4] Net monthly salary of the president is 23,500 kuna (c. 3,170 euro).[5][6]

The Office of the President was created by a presidential decree by Franjo Tuđman on January 19, 1991.[7] The Office is headed by a Chief of Staff (Croatian: Predstojnik ureda), who is appointed by the president. As of November 2011, no Office of the President of the Republic Act has been enacted, even though the constitution requires so. Instead, the presidents declare bylaws regulating composition of the office.[8] The office employs advisors to the president and comprises eight departments, four councils, presidential pardon commission and two decorations and awards commissions.[9] Since February 2010, Joško Klisović is the chief of staff.[10]

Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia[9]
Position Name
Chief of Staff Joško Klisović
Head of the Personal Office of the President Danica Juričić Spasović
Assistant Head of the Personal Office of the President Ana Šimundža
Secretary of the Office of the President of the Republic Mirjam Katulić

Presidential Palace

The Presidential Palace (Croatian: Predsjednički dvori, also referred to by the metonym Pantovčak) in Zagreb is the official residence of the president. The president does not actually live in the building as it is used to house the Office of the President of Croatia rather than as a residence. The structure covers 3,700 square metres (40,000 square feet). It is used as the official residence since then president Franjo Tuđman moved there following October 1991 bombing of Banski dvori. In addition to the original building, there is also a 3,500 square metres (38,000 square feet) annex built in 1993, an ancillary structure housing office security services and bomb shelter predating the 1990s.[4] The building, formerly known as Villa Zagorje or Tito's Villa, was designed by architects Vjenceslav Richter and Kazimir Ostrogović and completed in 1964 for the former Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito.[19][4]

Election and taking office

Presidential inaugurations
President Date Note
Franjo Tuđman 12 August 1992 first term[20]
5 August 1997 second term[21]
Stjepan Mesić 18 February 2000 first term[22]
18 February 2005 second term[23]
Ivo Josipović 18 February 2010 incumbent, first term[24]

The president is elected on the basis of universal suffrage through a secret ballot for a five year term. If no candidate in the elections secures more than 50% of the votes, a runoff election is held in 14 days. The Constitution of Croatia sets limit to the maximum two terms in the office and requires elections date to be determined within 30 to 60 days before expiry of term of the incumbent president.[1]

The constitution requires that the president-elect resigns from political party membership.[1] The president-elect is also required to resign from the parliament as well.[25] Before assuming the presidential duty, the president-elect is required to take an oath of office before the judges of the Constitutional Court, swearing loyalty to the Constitution of Croatia. The inauguration ceremony is traditionally held at St. Mark's Square in Zagreb, in front of the St. Mark's Church, midway between the building of the Parliament of Croatia and Banski dvori—seat of the Government of Croatia.[24] Text of the oath is defined by the Presidential Elections Act amendments of 1997.[26]

Presidential elections

Ivo Josipović, election victory speech

Presidential elections were held in Croatia for the first time on 2 August 1992 simultaneously with the 1992 parliamentary elections. Voter turnout was 74.9%. The result was a victory for Franjo Tuđman of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), who received 57.8% of the vote in the first round of the elections, ahead of 7 other candidates. Dražen Budiša, the Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) candidate and runner-up in the election, received 22.3% of the vote. The second presidential elections in modern Croatia were held on 15 June 1997. The incumbent, Franjo Tuđman ran opposed by Zdravko Tomac, candidate of the Social Democratic Party of Croatia (SDP) and Vlado Gotovac, nominated by the HSLS. Tomac and Gotovac received 21.0% and 17.6% of votes respectively in the first round of voting, and Tuđman secured another term. The third presidential elections were held on 24 January 2000, to fill the office of the President of the Republic, after the incumbent Franjo Tuđman died on 10 December 1999.[27] The first round of voting saw Stjepan Mesić, candidate of the Croatian People's Party (HNS) in front, receiving 41.3% of votes, followed by Dražen Budiša of the HSLS with 27.8% of votes and Mate Granić nominated by the HDZ receiving 22.6% of votes. The runoff election, the first in the presidential elections in modern Croatia, was held on 7 February, when Mesić won picking up 56.9% of votes. Voter turnout in the first round was 63.0% and 60.9% in the runoff.[28] The first round of the fourth presidential elections was held on 2 January 2005. No candidate secured a first-round victory, however incumbent Mesić enjoyed substantial lead over other candidates as he received 48.9% of votes and the second and third ranked candidates Jadranka Kosor (HDZ) and Boris Mikšić (independent) managed only 20.3% and 17.8% voter support respectively. Ultimately, Mesić won reelection as he received 65.9% of votes in the runoff held on 16 January. The [[last Croatian presidential election was held on 27 December 2009, with Ivo Josipović (SDP) picking up 32.4% of votes, followed by Milan Bandić (independent), Andrija Hebrang (HDZ) and Nadan Vidošević (independent) receiving 14.8%, 12.0% and 11.3% of the votes respectively. The second round of voting was held on 10 January 2010, when Josipović defeated Bandić as he received 60.3% of votes.[29]

Election Candidates First round
voter turnout
First round results
(candidates with more than 10% of votes)
Second round
voter turnout
Winner
1992 8 74.90% Franjo Tuđman (57.8%), Dražen Budiša (22.3%) N/A Franjo Tuđman
1997 3 54.62% Franjo Tuđman (61.4%), Zdravko Tomac (21.0%), Vlado Gotovac (17.6%) N/A Franjo Tuđman
2000 9 62.98% Stjepan Mesić (41.3%), Dražen Budiša (27.8%), Mate Granić (22.6%) 60.88% Stjepan Mesić
2005 13 50.57% Stjepan Mesić (48.9%), Jadranka Kosor (20.3%), Boris Mikšić (17.8%) 51.04% Stjepan Mesić
2009-2010 12 43.96% Ivo Josipović (32.4%), Milan Bandić (14.8%),
Andrija Hebrang (12.04%), Nadan Vidošević (11.33%)
50.13% Ivo Josipović
Source: State Election Commission[29]

Immunity and impeachment

The President of Croatia enjoys immunity—the president may not be arrested nor can any criminal proceedings may be instituted against the president without prior consent of the Constitutional Court. The immunity does not apply only if the president has been caught in the act of committing a criminal offense which carries a penalty of imprisonment of more than five years. In such a case the state body which has detained the president must notify the President of the Constitutional Court immediately.[1]

The President of Croatia is impeachable for any violation of the Constitution committed in performance of duties. Impeachment proceedings may be initiated by the Parliament of Croatia by a two-thirds majority vote of all members of the parliament. The impeachment of the president is then decided by the Constitutional Court by a two-thirds majority vote of all its judges. If the Constitutional Court impeaches the president, the president's term is terminated.[1]

Temporary incapacitation and termination of term

Franjo Tuđman died in office and was succeeded by Vlatko Pavletić as acting president

In case of brief incapacitation to execute the office of the President of Croatia due to absence, illness or vacations, the president may transfer powers to the Speaker of the Parliament of Croatia to act as a deputy. The president decides on revocation of the authority and return to the office. If the president is prevented from performing his duties for a longer period of time due to illness or other form of incapacitation, and especially if the president is unable to decide on a transfer of the powers to a deputy, the Speaker of the parliament becomes an acting president, assuming the presidential duty pursuant to a decision of the Constitutional Court, made upon request of the Government.[1]

In case of death or resignation submitted to the President of the Constitutional Court and communicated to the Speaker of the parliament, or in cases when the Constitutional Court decides to terminate of the presidential term through impeachment, the Speaker of the parliament becomes acting president. In those circumstances, new legislation is countersigned by the Prime Minister instead of the president and a new presidential election must be held within 60 days.[1] This situation occurred after the death of Franjo Tuđman on 10 December 1999,[30] when Vlatko Pavletić became the acting president.[31] After the parliamentary elections of 2000, the role was transferred to Zlatko Tomčić, who filled the office until Stjepan Mesić was elected President of Croatia in 2000.[32]

Speakers of the parliament as acting presidents of Croatia
Name Assumed office Left office Notes Party
Vlatko Pavletić 10 December 1999 2 February 2000 Office expired when the 3rd Sabor was replaced by the 4th[31] HDZ
Zlatko Tomčić 2 February 2000 18 February 2000 Replaced Pavletić after the 4th Sabor convened[32] HSS

Symbols

Standard of the President of Croatia flown at the entrance to the Presidential Palace grounds

Legislation defines appearance and use of the Presidential Standard of Croatia as a symbol of the President of Croatia, and appearance and use of the presidential sash as a symbol of honour of the office of the president. The presidential standard is square, blue field with a thin border of alternating red and white squares—29 on each side. In the centre of the blue field there is the main shield of the coat of arms of Croatia with historical arms of Croatia surrounding the main shield. From left to right those are the oldest known coat of arms of Croatia and arms of Republic of Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Istria and Slavonia, adorned with bands of gold, red and white stripes extending down vertically. Atop the shield there is a Croatian tricolour ribbon with golden letters RH standing for the Republic of Croatia, executed in Roman square capitals. The presidential standard is flown on buildings of the Office of the President of Croatia, residence of the president and transportation vehicles when in use by the president, and in other ceremonial occasions.[33] The presidential standard was designed by Miroslav Šutej in 1990.[34]

The presidential sash is Croatian tricolour band trimmed with gold and adorned with the coat of arms of Croatia placed in the white field of the tricolour at the front. The arms are bordered by oak branches on its left and olive branches on its right. The sash is worn diagonally, over the right shoulder and is fastened using a square clasp trimmed with golden Croatian interlace and adorned with the arms used on the presidential standard, although without the ribbon used in the arms. The constitution specifies that the sash is worn on the Statehood Day, during awards ceremonies, during acceptance of letters of credence and in other ceremonial occasions.[33] The presidential sash was not in use since 2000 inauguration of Stjepan Mesić.[35]

History

The Socialist Republic of Croatia within SFR Yugoslavia was led by a group of communist party functionaries who formed a collective Presidency with the president of the Presidency at its head. The first democratic elections of 1990 did not elect members of the Presidency directly. Rather, the parliament was tasked with filling these positions as it had done in the socialist period. The Croatian Democratic Union won the elections and its leader Franjo Tuđman assumed the presidency of the Presidency on May 30, 1990. On July 25, the parliament passed several constitutional amendments, including amendment LXXI which created the position of President and of Vice-Presidents.[36] The Christmas Constitution passed on December 22, 1990 established the government as a semi-presidential system and called for presidential elections.[37]

Tuđman won presidential elections in 1992 and 1997. During his reign, Constitution of Croatia adopted in 1990 provided for a semi-presidential system.[37] After his death in 1999, the constitution was amended and much of the presidential powers were transferred to the parliament and the government.[38] Stjepan Mesić won two consecutive terms, in 2000 on Croatian People's Party (HNS) ticket and in 2005, the maximum permitted by the constitution. Ivo Josipović, an SDP candidate, won the presidential elections held in December 2009 and January 2010.[29]

See also

References

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  2. ^ Nikola Sever Šeni (17 April 2010). "Josipović: Neka me premijerka Kosor opozove ili neka odstupi! [Josipović: Prime Minister Kosor should impeach me or step down]" (in Croatian). Večernji list. http://www.vecernji.hr/vijesti/josipovic-neka-me-premijerka-kosor-opozove-ili-neka-odstupi-clanak-127439. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
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  13. ^ "Vijeće za socijalnu pravdu [Social Justice Council]". Office of the President of Croatia. http://www.predsjednik.hr/SavjetZaSocijalnu. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
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  15. ^ "Savjet za gospodarstvo [Economy Council]". Office of the President of Croatia. http://www.predsjednik.hr/SavjetZaGospodarstvo. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
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  18. ^ "Povjereništvo za vojna odlikovanja i priznanja [Military Decorations and Awards Commission]". Office of the President of Croatia. http://www.predsjednik.hr/PovjerenistvoZaVojna. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  19. ^ Nina Ožegović (23 October 2002). "Vjenceslav Richter - slikarska retrospektiva avangardnog arhitekta [Vjenceslav Richter - A Painter's Retrospective of an Avant-garde Architect]" (in Croatian). Nacional. http://www.nacional.hr/clanak/13257/vjenceslav-richter-slikarska-retrospektiva-avangardnog-arhitekta. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  20. ^ "Odluka Su-141 /1992 [Decision Su-141 /1992]" (in Croatian) (PDF). State Electoral Commission. 11 August 1992. http://www.izbori.hr/izbori/ipFiles.nsf/0/8F6A183691BA7903C125745000463B5B/$FILE/Su-141-1992.pdf. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  21. ^ "Prisežna Poslanica Predsjednika Republike Hrvatske dr. Franje Tuđmana [Inaugural Address of the President of the Republic of Croatia, Franjo Tuđman]" (in Croatian). Office of the President of Croatia. 5 August 1997. http://www.predsjednik.hr/Zagreb5.Kolovoza1997. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  22. ^ Božica Babić (10 February 2000). "Marina Matulović-Dropulić ne da Mesiću palaču Dverce [Marina Matulović-Dropulić Withholds Dverce Palace from Mesić]" (in Croatian). Slobodna Dalmacija. http://arhiv.slobodnadalmacija.hr/20000210/novosti1.htm. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
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  33. ^ a b "Zakon o grbu, zastavi i himni Republike Hrvatske te zastavi i lenti predsjednika Republike Hrvatske [Coat of Arms, Flag and Anthem of the Republic of Croatia, Flag and Sash of the President of the Republic of Croatia Act]" (in Croatian). Narodne Novine. 21 December 1990. http://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/253505.html. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
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