Erceg’s Connecting You to Croatia Blog: Politics and Geography, February 26, 2018

Written by: Aleksandar Erceg, Co-Chair, Leadership Wisconsin 2018 Croatia Seminar

Government (Vlada), Parliament (Sabor), and the President (Predsjednik) are all situated in Zagreb. Zagreb is the place of political power of Croatia. Everything important is here. So that is why you will be there as well. And now something about the political system of Croatia…(not my favorite theme so I will be brief with this blog).

First of all some basic information. Croatia has, according to the 2011 census, 4,3 million inhabitants, 56.594 km2 land, and 31.067 km2 coastal waters. We are neighbors with following countries: Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Hungary. Shaped like a horseshoe, Croatia stretches from Vukovar in the northeast, past Zagreb in the west, and to Dubrovnik in the far south. In terms of nationality, Croats comprise 90% of the population. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest religious confession (86%), followed by the Orthodox (4.4%; mostly Serbs, who also form the largest national minority), Muslims (1.5%) and Protestants (0.3%). Almost 60% of the population lives in the cities and the largest ones according to 2011 census are Zagreb (700.000), Split (167.000), Rijeka (128.384), and Osijek (84.104). You will visit all 4 of these cities during your stay. You can find more information about Croatia at http://croatia.eu/article.php?lang=2&id=6

“The political system of Croatia is based on the principle of the division of power between the legislative, executive and judicial branches. The Constitution confirms that the people have the power to elect their own representatives by direct election, and the guaranteed right to local and regional self-government. Croatia is one of the rare states which have implemented two basic electoral models in only two decades, the majority model and the proportional representation model, and combinations of these.” (http://croatia.eu/article.php?lang=2&id=26) Croatia is a unitary democratic parliament republic.

Currently, we hold several elections: parliamental, presidential, EU and local elections. We are electing representatives for Parliament every 4 years. You will have a tour of Parliament during your first day in Zagreb. Presidential elections are held every 5 years and they are held in two rounds of voting in case no candidate secures a simple majority vote in the first round. Local elections are also held every 4 years with direct elections for municipal and city mayors and county prefects. EU Parliament elections were held for the first time in April 2013 (Croatia joined the EU in 2013.

The Government of the Republic of Croatia exercises executive power. It consists of the Prime Minister, one or more Deputy Prime Ministers and other ministers. It is responsible to the Croatian Parliament. The Prime Minister presents the Government to the Croatian Parliament and seeks a vote of confidence. If a majority of members of parliament return a vote of confidence, the Government assumes office. (http://croatia.eu/article.php?lang=2&id=2)

Judicial power is exercised by the courts, which are independent and autonomous. According to the law, bodies of state authority are obliged to protect the Constitution and laws confirmed by the legal order of the Republic of Croatia, and to assure the uniform application of the law and equal rights and privileges of all before the law. The courts rule on disputes concerning basic human and civil rights and obligations, and the rights and obligations of the state and units of local self-government. They also impose criminal and other measures upon perpetrators of criminal offences. Judges are appointed and relieved of duty, and their disciplinary responsibilities are decided on by the National Judiciary Council, which is elected by the Parliament.

The basic unit of regional self-government in Croatia are counties (Croatian Županija). Croatia has 20 counties and the City of Zagreb. Besides that, there are 127 towns and 429 municipalities.

You will learn more about this in less than two months. So see you soon in Zagreb. 😊

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