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Croatia

Yearbook 2015

Croatia. In the presidential election that took place on January 11, after a first round of voting before the New Year, unexpectedly Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović won with just over 50% of the vote. She was a candidate for the Conservative opposition party HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union). That the long-time favorite tipped President Ivo Josipović was voted off was assumed to be because he represented the center-left government which was far less popular than himself. Grabar-Kitarović, who was previously Foreign Minister and Deputy Secretary-General of NATO, became the country's first female head of state. The President has limited power in Croatia.

2015 Croatia

According to COUNTRYAAH, the Constitutional Court overturned two corruption convictions in July and ordered a new trial against former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, who was sentenced to multi-year imprisonment. A new trial began in September, but the Constitutional Court ordered him to be released, which happened at the end of November.

From mid-September, Croatia became a transit country for the huge influx of refugees who were heading north through the Balkan Peninsula. After Hungary closed its border with Serbia, many began to move from Serbia to Croatia instead. Prime Minister Zoran Milanović first said that the refugees were welcome and that their journey through the country would go well. But almost immediately several thousand people came a day and the situation became difficult to handle. Crossings to Serbia were closed and Hungary began to build barbed wire fences against Croatia as well. In a couple of months, over 300,000 refugees passed through Croatia and the situation was often chaotic.

When parliamentary elections were held in November, the two major blocs were basically leveled, but neither side was given enough mandate to form government on their own. The Patriotic Coalition, dominated by HDZ, got slightly more mandate than the government alliance Croatia grows, the largest party of which was the Social Democrats. The election's big surprise was the election platform MOST, which became the third largest party. MOST had been established in 2012 as a regional party and had largely members who had not been politically active before. Government formation was not complete by the end of the year.

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