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Croatia Government


Since the adoption of the 1990 Constitution, Croatia has been a democracy. Between 1990 and 2000 it had a semi-presidential system, and since 2000 it has a parliamentary system.

The President of the Republic (Predsjednik) is the head of state, directly elected to a five-year term and is limited by the Constitution to a maximum of two terms. The president is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and has some influence on foreign policy. The main duty of the president is that he/she is granted power to issue decrees with the force of law during war time.

The main executive power of Croatian state is the government (vlada), presided by the prime minister. The government ministers (the cabinet) are appointed by the prime minister with the consent of the Parliament. The prime minister is the head of government, appointed by the president with the consent of the Parliament who takes his duty when Parliament gives its consent by absolute majority of all representatives.

The Croatian legislature is the Hrvatski Sabor. The Assembly is unicameral, between 100 and 160 members, exact number was decided by the legislature – elected for a four year term, 140 members in multi-seat constituencies, up to six members chosen by proportional representation to represent Croatians residing abroad and five members of ethnic and national communities or minorities.

The Chamber of Counties or Županijski Dom used to be composed of three deputies from each of the 21 counties (županije). However, as it had no practical power over the Chamber of Representatives, in 2001 it was abolished and its powers transferred directly to the county governments.

The Sabor meets in public sessions in two periods: January 15 to June 30, and September 15 to December 15. Extra sessions can be called by the President of the Republic, by the President of the Parliament or by Government. 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; calling referendums; carrying out elections, appointments, and relief of office; supervising the work of the Government of Croatia and other holders of public powers responsible to the Sabor; and granting amnesty. Decisions are made based on a majority vote if more than half of the Chamber is present, except in cases of national rights and constitutional issues.

The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The Supreme Court (Vrhovni Sud) is the highest court. Court hearings are open, and judgements are made publicly, except in issues of privacy of the accused. Judges are appointed by the National Judicial Council and judicial office is permanent (until 70 years of age). The President of the Supreme Court is elected for a four-year term by the Croatian Parliament at the proposal of the President of the Republic. The Constitutional Court (Ustavni Sud) decides on the constitutionality of laws and has the right to repeal a law it finds unconstitutional. It also can impeach the president. The body is made up of 13 judges for an eight-year term. The president of the Constitutional Court is elected by the court for a four-year term.

Counties are regional self-government units that carry out the affairs of regional significance, and in particular the affairs related to education, health service, area and urban planning, economic development, traffic and traffic infrastructure and the development of network of educational, health, social and cultural institutions.

In practice, this autonomy is very limited since counties must obey national laws and executive orders from the national level.

Municipalities and towns are local self-government units that carry out the affairs of local jurisdiction by which the needs of citizens are directly fulfilled, and in particular the affairs related to the organisation of localities and housing, area and urban planning, public utilities, child care, social welfare, primary health services, education and elementary schools, culture, physical education and sports, customer protection, protection and improvement of the environment, fire protection and civil defence.

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