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Croatia - Government

The first Constitution of the Republic of Croatia was proclaimed on 22 December 1990. The Republic of Croatia is a unitary, indivisible, democratic and social state. Power in the Republic of Croatia derives from the people and belongs to the people as a community of free and equal citizens. Government in the Republic of Croatia is organised on the principle of the separation of powers into: legislative, executive and judicial. The principle of the separation of power includes levels of mutual co-operation and reciprocal control of the holder of power prescribed by the Constitution and law. In the Republic of Croatia, laws must conform with the Constitution, whilst other rules and regulations must conform with the Constitution and law. Everyone must abide by the Constitution and law, and respect the legal order of the Republic of Croatia.

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 Croatian Chamber of Counties ceased to exist on 28 March 2002. The Croatian Parliament can have no less than 100 and no more than 160 representatives, elected on the basis of direct universal and equal suffrage by secret ballot. The Chamber of Representatives, consisted in 2011 of 153 members who serve 4-year terms elected by direct vote. Elections for representatives in the Croatian Parliament are held not later than 60 days after the expiry of a mandate or the dissolution of the Croatian Parliament.

The Sabor in 2011 included 140 members from 10 geographic districts within Croatia (each district holds 14 seats), as well as eight seats guaranteed to representatives of national minorities (three for the Serb minority, and five for other smaller groups), and seats for Croatians abroad without fixed residence in Croatia, the large majority of whom reside in Bosnia-Herzegovina. As of the November 2007 parliamentary elections, the diaspora representatives held five Sabor seats. Following changes to the constitution in 2010, diaspora representatives would be guaranteed three seats in the Sabor. The Sabor meets twice a year--from January 15 to July 15 and from September 15 to December 15.

The Croatian Parliament decides on the enactment and amendment of the Constitution, passes laws, adopts the state budget, decides on war and peace, passes acts which expresses the politics of the Croatian Parliament, decides on the strategy of national security and the strategy of Defence for the Republic of Croatia, carries out civil control of the armed forces and security services of the Republic of Croatia, calls referendums, carries out elections, appointments and relief of office in conformity with the Constitution and law, supervises the work of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and other holders of public powers responsible to the Croatian Parliament in conformity with the Constitution and law, grants amnesty for penal offences and conducts other affairs as specified by the Constitution.

The President of the Republic is elected on the basis of direct universal and equal suffrage by secret ballot for a term of five years. Following the death of President Tudjman, the powers of the presidency were curtailed and greater responsibility was vested in Parliament. 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 nominates the prime minister-designate based on election results.

The Government consists of the Prime Minister, one or more Deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers. The prime minister, who is nominated by the president, assumes office following a parliamentary vote of confidence in the new government. The Government is responsible to the Croatian Parliament. Pursuant to the decision of the Croatian Sabor which expressed confidence in the Government of the Republic of Croatia, the President of the Republic shall issue an order appointing the Prime Minister, counter-signed by the Chairman of the Croatian Sabor; the order appointing the members of the Government shall be issued by the Prime Minister and counter-signed by the Chairman of the Croatian Sabor.

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. The Government of the Republic of Croatia exercises executive power in conformity with the Constitution and law, with the organisation, operation and decision making regulated by the Law on the Government of the Republic of Croatia and its rule of procedures.

The Government of the Republic of Croatia: proposes laws and other acts to the Croatian Parliament, proposes the state budget and final account, implements laws and other decisions of the Croatian Parliament, passes regulations for the implementation of laws, conducts foreign and internal politics, directs and controls the work of state administration, works on the economic growth of the country, directs the activities and expansion of public services, conducts other affairs as specified by the Constitution and law.

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.







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