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Stjepan Mesic

Stjepan Mesić
Order: 2nd President
Term of Office: February 18, 2000 - present
Predecessor: Franjo Tudjman
Date of Birth: December 24, 1934
Place of Birth: Orahovica, Croatia
First Lady: Milka Mesić
Profession: Lawyer
Political Party: Croatian People's Party - HNS

Stjepan (Stipe) Mesić (born December 24, 1934 is, since February 18, 2000, the 2nd and current President of the Republic of Croatia. Before becoming President, he was deputy in the Croatian Parliament in 1960's, Prime Minister in 1990. He was elected Croatian member of the Yugoslav Federal Presidency where he served first as Vice President and then in 1991 as the last President of the Yugoslav Federal Presidency. After that from 1992 he served as the President of the Croatian Parliament.

From 1990 he was a member of Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). In 1994, he left that party with his several colleagues to form the new one - Croatian Independent Democrats (HND). Reasons were strongly disagreement with Croatian policy toward Bosnia-Herzegovina, privatization in war times and non-sanctioning the war profiters. Later, majority of HND members merged into Croatian People's Party (HNS).

After President Tudjman died in December 1999, he was elected in 2 rounds the Croatian President in February 2000.

Table of contents
1 Personal Life and Education
2 Political Career
3 External links

Personal Life and Education

Mesić was born in Slavonia and graduated the Zagreb Law University. Mesić is married with two daughters.

Political Career

After graduation he worked in Orahovica and Našice. After military service he passed the judge exams and worked as municipal judge. In 1964, he was director of general sector of Univerzal Corporation. He was a member of the League of Communists (Communist Party). In 1966, he was elected on independent list of citizens in Municipal Council, challeging the Communist Party and Socialist Union of Working People candidates. In 1967, he became the Orahovica Mayor. He initiated building of first private factory in Yugoslavia when he was condemned by Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito as introducing silently capitalism which according to then Constitution was illegal. In 1970's he supported the Croatian Spring movement which called for Croatian equality whithin Yugoslav Federation on economic, political and cultural level. After that he was accused on "enemy propaganda acts" and sentenced 1 year jail. Process lasted 3 days and 55 witnesses testified, only 5 against him. It is usually considered as politically motivated unfair trial that were usual in Communist state.

He was elected again in 1990 as HDZ candidate on first multi-party elections in Croatia after World War II. He became Prime Minister. Soon, he resigned to be elected in the Federal Presidency where he served first as Vice President. Presidents rotated annualy according to republic-province key automatically. When he was supposed to become automatically the President, Serbian Presidency Member Borisav Jović demanded voting in the Presidency. 4 members (Serbia, Montenegro, Vojvodina, Kosovo) were against him and 4 members (Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia) were in favor. That was considered as unconstitutional since every year Presidents rotated. Then, European Community mediators convinced Jović to admit Mesić as the President. Since Yugoslav Federal Army was de facto controlled by Serbian President Milošević, Mesić could not do much. Federal Army and Serbia with its abolished autonomous province Vojvodina and Kosovo (but kept 2 votes in the Presidency) and Montenegro, helped Serbian rebellion in Croatia by sending weapons, volonteers in order to secede parts of Croatia from Croatia. They proclaimed Serbian Autonomous Province Krajina. President Mesić issued an order to Army to retreat, but Army did not obey him. Federal Army was bombing many Croatian cities and towns (most famous were Vukovar and Dubrovnik). Mesić went with ships in order to help Dubrovnik citizens under siege and bombs of Federal Army under de jure his control. When Croatia declared its complete independence, he returned to Croatia and resigned from Presidency since was evident that Yugoslavia did not exist anymore. In 1992, he was elected to Parliament to become the President of the Parliament. In 1994, he left HDZ to form new party Croatian Independant Democrats. He opposed the Government policy toward Bosnia-Herzegovina accusing President Tudjman that he agreed to carve Bosnia-Herzegovina with Milošević. He also criticized privatization in war and unresolved privatization criminal and war profiters. Later, majority of his party merged in Croatian People's Party (HNS). He was elected President of the Republic in 2000. He heavily criticized Tudjman policies as nationalistic, autoritharian, lack of free media and bad economy policy in which he favored more liberal approach in order to more open Croatian economy for foreign investment.

After becoming President, he retired 7 Croatian active generals who wrote 2 times open letters to public in which they argued that current Government administration "is campaigning to criminalize Homeland War and that Government is accusing and neglecting Croatian Army".

Mesić held that active duty officers could not write in public political letters without approval of their Commander-in-chief. Opposition parties condemned that President's decision as dangerous decision that could harm Croatian national security. However, overall analysis is clear - active military commanders should not criticize politically its superior commanders.

President Mesić is active in foreign policy in which he is in favor of realization of Croatian ambition to become European Union candidate and NATO member. He also initiated mutual apologies for possible war crimes with the President of Serbia and Montenegro.

Some analysts claim he was not very active in domestic policy making in which he totally left that entirely to Government and Prime Minister.

He was against USA military campaign against Iraq and Saddam Hussein regime without United Nations approval and mandate.

He is serving his 5 year term until February 2005.

External links

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Preceded by :
Franjo Tudjman
Presidents of Croatia