Article IV of the

CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF CROATIA


IV. ORGANIZATION OF GOVERNMENT

1. The Croatian Parliament

The Croatian Parliament (Sabor) is a body of the elected representatives of the people and is vested with the legislative power in the republic of Croatia. The Croatian Parliament shall consist of the House of Representatives (Zastupniki dom) and the House of Counties (upanijski dom).

The House of Representatives shall have no less than 100 and no more than 160 representatives, elected on the basis of direct universal and equal suffrage by secret ballot. Citizens in every county shall on the basis of universal suffrage directly and by secret ballot elect 3 representatives to the House of Counties. The President of the Republic shall upon the expiry of his term become a lifelong member of the Chamber of Counties, unless he explicitly renounces this duty. The President of the Republic may nominate up to 5 representatives to the House of Counties from among citizens especially deserving for the Republic.

Representatives in the Houses of the Croatian Parliament shall be elected for a term of four years. No one shall at the same time be a representative in the House of Representatives and the House of Counties. The number of and conditions and procedure for the election of representatives to the Houses of the Croatian Parliament shall be regulated by law.

Elections for representatives in the Houses of the Croatian Parliament shall be held not later than 60 days after the expiry of the mandate or the dissolution of the Houses of the Croatian Parliament. The first session of the Houses of the Croatian Parliament shall be held not later than 20 days after the completion of the elections.

Representatives in the Croatian Parliament shall not have an imperative mandate. Representatives in the Croatian Parliament shall have a regular financial remuneration and shall have other rights specified by law.

Representatives in the Croatian Parliament shall enjoy immunity. No representative shall be called to account criminally, detained or punished for an opinion expressed or a vote cast in the Parliament. No representative shall be detained, nor shall criminal proceedings be instituted against him without approval thereof by the House of which he is a member. A representative may be detained without assent of his Parliament only if he has been caught in the act of committing a criminal offense which carries a penalty of imprisonment of more than five years. In such a case, the Chairman of the House concerned shall be notified thereof. If the House is not in session, approval for the detention of the representative, or for the continuation of criminal proceedings against him, shall be given and his right to immunity decided by the Parliamentary Immunity and Mandate Commission of his House, such a decision being subject to subsequent confirmation by the House.

The term of office of representatives in the Croatian Parliament may be extended by law only in the case of war.

The House of Representatives and the House of Counties may be dissolved if so decided by majority of all their representatives. The President of the Republic may, in conformity with the Constitution, dissolve the House of Representatives.

The Houses of the Croatian Parliament shall be in regular session twice a year: the first time between January 15 and June 30, and the second time between September 15 and December 15. The Houses of the Croatian Parliament shall sit in emergency session at the request of the President of the Republic, the Government or the majority of representatives in the House.

The internal organization and mode of work of the House of Representatives and the House of Counties shall be regulated by their respective rules of procedure. The rules of procedure shall be passed by a majority vote of all representatives. The House of Representatives and the House of Counties shall each have a Chairman and one or more Vice-Chairmen. The rights and duties of the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen shall be defined by the Houses' rules of procedure. The Chairman of the House of Representatives shall be the Chairman of the Croatian Parliament.

The House of Representatives shall:

  • decide on the enactment and amendment of the Constitution;
  • pass laws;
  • adopt the state budget;
  • decide on war and peace;
  • decide on alterations of the borders of the Republic;
  • call referenda;
  • carry out elections, appointments and relief of office, in conformity with the Constitution and law;
  • supervise the work of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and other holders of public powers responsible to the Parliament, in conformity with the Constitution and law;
  • grant amnesty for penal offenses;
  • conduct other affairs as specified by the Constitution.

The House of Counties:

  • shall propose to the House of Representatives bills and the calling of referenda;
  • shall discuss and may give opinion on questions falling within the competence of the House of Representatives;
  • shall give to the House of Representatives prior opinion on the procedure for the enactment of the Constitution and laws which regulate national rights, elaborate constitutionally determined freedoms and rights of man and the citizen and the electoral system, the organization, responsibilities and operation of government bodies, and the organization of local self-government and administration;
  • may, within a period of 15 days from the date of the passage of a law in the House of Representatives, with a substantiated opinion return the law for re-consideration in the House of Representatives. In such case, the House of Representatives shall decide on the passage of such a law by a majority vote of all representatives, except when the House of Representatives passes laws by a two-thirds majority;
  • shall conduct other affairs as specified by the Constitution.

Unless otherwise specified by the Constitution, the House of Representatives and the House of Counties shall make decisions by a majority vote, provided that a majority of representatives are present at the session. Representatives shall vote personally.

Laws which regulate national rights shall be passed by the House of Representatives by a two-thirds majority vote of all representatives. Laws which elaborate the constitutionally defined freedoms and the rights of man and the citizen, the electoral system, the organization, responsibilities and operation of local self- government and administration shall be passed by the House of Representatives by a majority vote of all representatives.

Sessions of the Croatian Parliament shall be public.

All representatives of the House of Representatives, working bodies of the House of Representatives, the House of Counties and the Government of the Republic of Croatia shall have the right to propose laws.

Representatives in the Houses of the Croatian Parliament shall, in conformity with the rules of procedure, have the right to put questions to the Government of the Republic of Croatia and to individual ministers.

The House of Representatives may call a referendum on a proposal for the amendment of the Constitution, or a bill or any other issue falling within its competence. The President of the Republic may, at the proposal of the Government and with the counter-signature of the Prime Minister, call a referendum on a proposal for the amendment of the Constitution or on any other issue which he considers to be important for the independence, unity and existence of the Republic. At such a referendum, a decision shall be made by the majority of the voters who voted, provided that the majority of the total number of electors have taken part in the referendum. Decisions made at referenda shall be binding. A law shall be passed on referenda.

The House of Representatives may, for a maximum period of one year, authorize the Government of the Republic of Croatia to regulate by decrees individual issues falling within its competence, except those relating to the elaboration of constitutionally defined freedoms and rights, national rights, the electoral system, the organization, responsibilities and operation of government bodies and local self-government. Decrees based on statutory authority shall not have a retroactive effect. Decrees passed on the basis of statutory authority shall cease to be valid after the expiry of a period of one year from the date when the House of Representatives received such authority, unless otherwise decided by the House of Representatives.

Laws shall be promulgated by the President of the Republic within eight days from the date when they were, in conformity with the Constitution, passed in the House of Representatives.

Before coming into force, laws shall be published in Narodne Novine, the Republic's official gazette. A law shall come into force at the earliest on the eighth day after its publication, unless otherwise specified by law for especially justified reasons. Only individual provisions of a law may have a retroactive effect.

State revenues and expenditures shall be determined by the state budget. A law whose application demands financial funds shall specify the sources of such funds.

The Houses of the Croatian Parliament may form inquiry commissions regarding any issue of public interest. The composition, responsibilities and powers of inquiry commissions shall be in accord with law.

An ombudsman, who shall be a commissioner of the Croatian Parliament, shall protect the constitutional and legal rights of citizens in proceedings before government administration and bodies vested with public powers. The ombudsman shall be elected by the House of Representatives for a term of eight years. Conditions for the election and relief of office and the mode of work of the ombudsman and his deputies shall be regulated by law.

2. The President of the Republic of Croatia

The President of the Republic of Croatia is the head of state. The President of the Republic shall represent the Republic at home and abroad, be responsible for abiding by the Constitution, and ensure the continuance and unity of the Republic and the regular functioning of government.

The President of the Republic shall be elected, on the basis of universal and equal suffrage at direct elections by secret ballot, for a term of five years. No one shall be President of the Republic more than twice. The President of the Republic shall be elected by a majority vote of all electors who voted. If none of the candidates has obtained such a majority, a new election shall be held after 14 days. The two candidates who at the first election obtained the largest number of votes shall have the right to stand at the new election. If one of the candidates who obtained the largest number of votes withdraws his candidature, the candidate who is next in the number of votes obtained shall acquire the right to be elected. Elections for the President of the Republic shall be held in no less than 30 and no more than 60 days before the expiry of his term. Before assuming duty, the President of the Republic shall take a solemn oath pledging loyalty to the Constitution. The election of the President of the Republic shall be regulated by law.

The President of the Republic shall not, except for party-related duties, perform any other public or professional duty.

In the event of the death of the President of the Republic, his resignation, or his being permanently prevented from performing his duties, the occurrence of which shall be established by the Constitutional Court of Croatia at the proposal of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, the duty of the President of the Republic shall be temporarily assumed by the Chairman of the Croatian Parliament. The election of a new President of the Republic shall be carried out within 60 days from the date when the former President ceased to perform his duties.

The President of the Republic shall:

  • call elections for the Chambers of the Parliament and shall convene their first session;
  • call referenda, in conformity with the Constitution;
  • appoint and relieve of duty the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia;
  • at the proposal of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia appoint and relieve of duty its deputy prime ministers and members;
  • grant pardons;
  • confer decorations and other awards specified by law;
  • perform other duties specified by the Constitution.

The President of the Republic shall, at the Government's proposal, decide on the establishment of diplomatic and other representative offices of the Republic of Croatia abroad. The President of the Republic shall appoint and recall diplomatic representatives of the Republic of Croatia, receive letters of credence and letters of recall from foreign diplomatic representatives.

The President of the Republic is commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the Republic of Croatia. The President of the Republic shall appoint members of the National Defense Council of the Republic of Croatia and preside over it, and shall appoint and relieve of duty military commanders, in conformity with law. On the basis of a decision by the Croatian Parliament, the President of the Republic may proclaim war and conclude peace.

The President of the Republic shall pass decrees with the force of law and take emergency measures in the event of a state of war or an immediate danger to the independence and unity of the Republic, or when government bodies are prevented from regularly performing constitutional duties. During the time the President of the Republic is making use of such powers, the House of Representatives may not be dissolved. The President of the Republic shall submit decrees with the force of law for approval to the Chamber of Representatives as soon as the Parliament is in a position to meet.

The President of the Republic may convene a session of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and place on its agenda items which he deems should be considered. The President of the Republic shall preside over sessions of the Government at which he is present.

The President of the Republic may give to the Croatian Parliament information of, and shall once a year submit to it a report on, the state of the Republic.

The President of the Republic may, at the proposal of the Government and with the counter-signature of the Prime Minister, after having consulted the Chairman of the House, dissolve the House of Representatives, if this House has passed a vote of no confidence to the Government, or if it has not approved the state budget within a month from the date when it was proposed. The President of the Republic may not again dissolve the House of Representatives before the expiration of one year from the date of its dissolution.

The President of the Republic shall be impeachable for any violation of the Constitution he has committed in the performance of his duties. Proceedings for the impeachment of the President of the Republic may be instituted by the House of Representatives by a two-thirds majority vote of all representatives. The impeachability of the President of the Republic shall be decided upon the Constitutional Court of Croatia by a two-thirds majority vote of all justices. If the Constitutional Court of Croatia sustains the impeachment, the duty of the President of the Republic shall cease by force of the Constitution.

In the performance of his powers the President of the Republic shall be assisted by a Presidential Council and other advisory and auxiliary bodies whose members shall be appointed and recalled by the President of the Republic.

3. The Government of the Republic of Croatia

The Government of the Republic of Croatia shall exercise executive powers in conformity with the Constitution and law.

The Government of the Republic of Croatia shall consist of a Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers and other members.

The organization, operation and decision-making by the Government shall be regulated by law and its rules of procedure. The internal organization of ministers shall be regulated by Government decrees, and services for the conduct of its affairs shall be set up by it.

The Government shall pass decrees in conformity with the Constitution and law, introduce bills, propose the state budget, and enforce laws and other regulations enacted by the Croatian Parliament.

The Government shall be responsible to the President of the Republic and the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia. The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and members of the Government shall be jointly responsible for the decisions made by the Government, and shall be personally responsible for their respective departments.

The Prime Minister shall, not later than 15 days from his nomination, present the Government to the House of Representatives and ask for a vote of confidence in the Government. The nomination of the Prime Minister and members of the Government shall be deemed to have been accepted if confidence in it has been expressed by a majority of all representatives in the House of Representatives.

At the proposal of at least a tenth of the representatives in the House of Representatives, a vote of confidence to the Prime Minister, individual Government members or the Government as a whole may be requested. A vote of confidence in the Government may also be requested by the Prime Minister. No vote of confidence may be taken before the expiry of three days from the date of service of the proposal to the House of Representatives. A no confidence decision shall be accepted if it has been voted for the majority of the total number of representatives. If the House of Representatives rejects the proposal for a vote of no confidence, the representatives who made it may not again make the same proposal before the expiry of three months. If a vote of no confidence to the Prime Minister or the Government as a whole is passed, the Prime Minister shall submit his resignation to the President of the Republic, who shall dissolve the Government. If a vote of no confidence in an individual member of the Government is passed, the Prime Minister may resign or may propose the President of the Republic to relieve of duty the member of the Government against whom the vote of no confidence was passed.

The organization of state administration shall be regulated by law. Employees in state administration shall be appointed on the basis of public competition, unless otherwise specified by law.

4. Judicial Power

Judicial power shall be exercised by courts. Judicial power shall be autonomous and independent. Courts shall administer justice on the basis of the Constitution and law.

The Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia, as the highest court, shall ensure uniform application of laws and equality of citizens. The establishment, jurisdiction, composition and organization of courts and court proceedings shall be regulated by law. The formation, competence and organization of the office of public prosecutor shall be regulated by law.

Court hearings shall be open and judgements shall be passed publicly in the name of the Republic of Croatia. The public may be barred from a hearing or part thereof if minors are being tried, or for the purposes of protection of the private lives of the parties, or in marital disputes and proceedings in connection with guardianship and adoption, or for the purposes of protection of military, official or business secrets, and for the protection of security of the Republic's defense.

Justice shall be administered by judges and lay-assessors in conformity with law.

Judges and lay-assessors who take part in the administration of justice shall not be called to account for an opinion given in the process of judicial decision-making. Judges shall, in conformity with law, enjoy the same immunity as representatives in the Croatian Parliament.

Judicial office shall be permanent. A judge shall be relieved of his judicial office:

  • at his own request;
  • if he has become permanently incapacitated to perform his office;
  • if he has been sentenced for a criminal offense which makes him unworthy to hold judicial office;
  • if in conformity with law it is so decided by the High Judiciary Council of the Republic owing to the commission of an act of serious infringement of discipline.
The judge concerned shall have the right to submit to the House of Counties of the Croatian Parliament a request for protection against the decision to relieve him of office. A judge shall not be transferred against his will. A judge shall not perform an office or work defined by law as being incompatible with his judicial office.

Judges and public prosecutors shall, in conformity with the Constitution and law, be appointed and relieved of duty by, and questions concerning their disciplinary responsibility decided upon by, the High Judiciary Council of the Republic. The High Judiciary Council of the Republic shall have a president and 14 members. The president and members shall be proposed by the House of Counties, and shall be elected by the House of Representatives for a term of eight years from among notable judges, public prosecutors, lawyers and university professors of law, in conformity with law.

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