Croatia is a democratic republic with a parliamentary government based on a constitution established in 1990.
The parliament (Sabor) has a House of Representatives and a House of Counties. The latter is advisory only and has equal representation from every region. Seats are set aside in the House of Representatives for ethnic minorities and Croats in the diaspora. Representatives are elected for four-year terms.
Leadership and Political Officials.
The president of the republic is elected for a five-year term and may only serve two consecutive terms. There is also a prime minister.
There are thirteen parties with representatives in the government. The dominant party since 1991 has been the HDZ. Some of the smaller parties formed a coalition and won the elections after Tudjman's death.
Social Problems and Control.
Since the war of 1991–1995, there is increased crime, particularly of a petty nature. There are more beggars visible on the streets. Most of the individuals are people who are displaced or refugees, or otherwise left out of the current system as a result of war and political change. Some elderly people, for example, had pensions that were paid in another of the republics of the former Yugoslavia. Others who had money in banks outside Croatia may have lost their savings. For the most part, however, people are coping with the help of family. Croatia and non-governmental organizations provide some safety net for refugees.
In the former Yugoslavia, all men were required to serve one year of military duty, either right after high school, or if they went on to university, during or at the end of their university education. Usually people served their military duty in a republic other than the one in which they were born and lived. Beginning in 1983, women could voluntarily join the military. The new Croatian Army grew out of a para-military established originally as Croatia began to feel threatened and vulnerable before the outbreak of war in 1991. As tensions built in the former Yugoslavia, Croats began to refuse to serve in the Yugoslav Army. During the war, all young men were expected to register for military service. Generally men from the same village or locality served together during the war, even though this meant that a village could lose a number of its young men in one battle. Because the different sides spoke the same language (more or less), and dressed more or less the same, regional dialects, and actually knowing one's comrades in arms became important. In the new state of Croatia, young men are now required once again to register for a year of military duty.