Branches of Croatian Government

Banski dvori in Zagreb, Croatia
Banski dvori in Zagreb, Croatia – home of the Croatian Government

UPDATED: 5.3.2024.

Croatia is considered a unitary democratic parliamentary republic, and its branches of government include legislative, executive, and judicial bodies. The Constitution confirms people of Croatia have the power to elect their own representatives by direct election and the guaranteed right to local and regional self-government.

Croatia adopted the new Constitution in 1990 and organized its first multi-party elections. While the 1990 constitution remains in force, it has been amended four times since its adoption – in 1997, 2000, 2001, and 2010.

In this article, we cover:

The facts are these…

Executive branch of the Republic of Croatia

The predsjednik države (President of the Republic) is the head of state and the commander-in-chief of the Oružane snage Republike Hrvatske (Croatian armed forces). The President is elected to serve a five-year term.

After being elected, the president appoints the premijer (Prime Minister) with the consent of the parliament through a majority vote of all representatives or MPs and has some influence on foreign policy. The president also decides on diplomatic missions and consular offices abroad and appoints and recalls diplomatic representatives.

Croatia’s primary executive power is headed by the Prime Minister, who has four deputy prime ministers and extra ministers who manage various departments, i.e., Croatian ministries such as defense, foreign and European affairs, justice, finance, agriculture, health, tourism, etc.

[Read: All the Croatian government ministries and what they do]

Judicial branch of the Republic of Croatia

Croatia has a three-tiered, independent judicial system. The vrhovni sud (Supreme Court) is the highest court of appeal in Croatia, while općinski (municipal) and županijski (county) courts have general jurisdiction.

Specialized courts in Croatia include:

  • Croatian Constitutional Court
  • Commercial Court
  • Superior Commercial Court
  • Misdemeanor Court
  • Superior Misdemeanor Court
  • Administrative court
  • Superior Administrative Court

Judges are appointed by the National Judicial Council. Their term is permanent until seventy years of age.

[Read: How the Croatian legislation system and courts work]

Legislative branch of the Republic of Croatia

The Parliament of Croatia, called Sabor, is a unicameral legislative body. Sabor representatives are all elected by popular vote and serve four-year terms.

The number of parliament representatives ranges from 100 to 160 (currently 151), depending on the Zakon o izborima zastupnika u Hrvatski sabor (law on the election of members of the Croatian parliament), which is available here. Up to three members are chosen to represent Croatians living abroad and eight members represent ethnic and national minorities.

The basic units of regional self-government are the counties. A county is called županija in Croatian. The present administrative-territorial division of the country was introduced in 1997 when the 1992 division was changed. Smaller administrative-territorial units within counties are cities/towns in urban areas and municipalities in other areas.

[Read: How laws are made in Croatia]

Political parties in Croatia

Croatia has a multi-party system, which means no one party has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties must collaborate to form coalition governments. Between January 1990, when political parties were legalized in Croatia, and February 2024, 402 political parties were registered, out of which 156 are active today.

Some of the most important political parties with elected representation at the national level include:

  • Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)
  • Social Democratic Party of Croatia (SDP)
  • Bridge of Independent Lists (Most)
  • Croatian People’s Party-Liberal Democrats (HNS)
  • Croatian Peasant Party (HSS)
  • Možemo!

[Read: Croatia’s Largest Political Parties]

View our other Croatian legislation posts

Zakon o izborima zastupnika u Hrvatski sabor
Zakon o lokalnim izborima
Registar političkih stranaka
Hrvatski sabor

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

Sharing is Caring:

We only send one email a week on Tuesdays. And no spam, we don't like that either!

Subscribe to the Expat in Croatia Newsletter and get our FREE Croatia Starter Kit.
I'm already subscribed.