Prime Minister of Croatia.
Ivica Račan heads the reformed communist Social Democratic Party of Croatia (SPH). A communist from his youth, he was elected President of the League of Communists of Croatia (SKH) in 1989. He transformed the SKH into the more moderate SPH in 1991, after Croatia's secession from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). He has held a seat in the Assembly since 1990 and was appointed Prime Minister on 4 January 2000.
Born on 24 February 1944 in a Nazi labour camp in Germany, he was taken home to Croatia in 1945 and became actively involved as a teenager with the ruling League of Communists of Yugoslavia (SKJ) at the republican level. He graduated in law from Zagreb University in 1970, was on the Croatian SKH's Central Committee by 1974, and was part of the collective presidency of the SKJ at federal level from 1986 to 1989. In that year, having been elected President of the SKH, he led a walkout of regional delegates at the SKJ's 14th party congress in Belgrade-one of the decisive events in precipitating the collapse of the SFRY.
As a de facto leader of Croatia, he oversaw the holding of democratic elections in 1990 and won a seat as part of the opposition to the victorious Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). He transformed the SKH into the SPH in 1991 and built a solid support base in opposition to the authoritarian HDZ. He was re-elected to the Assembly in 1995, 1997 and 2000, with the SPH becoming the largest single party in the Assembly in the 2000 poll. He was appointed Prime Minister on 4 January 2000. He has worked with President Stipe Mesić to curb the powers of the executive and complete the democratic transformation of Croatia. On 15 July 2001 he successfully defeated a vote of no confidence which had been prompted by his support for the UN's prosecution of Croatian war criminals (see International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia).
Address: Office of the Prime Minister, Trg sv. Marka 2, 10000 Zagreb.
Telephone: (1) 4569201.
Fax: (1) 6303019.