Croatia is a Republic state based on parliamentary democracy. Croatia (official name: Republic of Croatia) is a former Yugoslav republic and achieved independence in 1991. It is a candidate for membership in the European Union.
President is the chief of the state, elected by popular vote for a five-year term. President can dissolve the Parliament and call for elections. President is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The President appoints the Prime Minister and the Cabinet with the consent of Parliament. Prime Minister holds the executive powers.
The legislature is unicameral. The Parliament is a legislative body whose members are elected from party lists by popular vote to serve four-year terms. The constitution has been changed to shift power away from the President to the Parliament. People of Croatia have considerable political rights.
Broadly speaking, the judicial system in Croatia is not independent. It suffers from shortage of judges leading to backlog of cases and also lacks in enforcement of judicial decisions. The main source of the law is the constitution of 1990 (revised in 2001) which is based on civil law system. Croatian is the judicial language used in the country.
On the whole, Croatia is ruled by law. Law and order situation in the country has considerably improved since the year 2000. One cannot guarantee a fair trial to a foreign national, but the government of Croatia has now become more willing to honour international obligations. A high degree of corruption exists in the country in all walks of life (government, corporate & judiciary).
Major political parties
Croatia has a multi-party system. The major political parties in the country are:
- HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) - socialist, conservative, right-wing, advocates political and economic liberalisation;
- SDP (Social democratic party) - left-wing, ex-communist party;
- HNS (Croatian People's Party - Liberal Democrats) - liberal, democratic, advoactes economic reforms,
- HSP (Croatian Party of Rights) - nationalist, right-wing, advocates ethno-centric politics;
- HSS (Croatian Peasant Party) - left-wing, conservative, advocates pro-agrarian politices;
- HSU (Croatian Pensioner Party) - protects the interest of pensioners, draws support from labour unions as well.,
Major political leaders
President: Stjepan (Stipe) MESIC (since February 2000, re-elected in January 2005) - HNS
Prime Minister: Ivo SANADER (since December 2003) – HDZ
Next political election dates
Presidential: January 2010
Parliamentary: Year 2011