Jadranka Kosor

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Jadranka Kosor
Jadranka Kosor 26052011 crop.jpg
9th Prime Minister of Croatia
In office
6 July 2009 – 23 December 2011
President Stjepan Mesić
Ivo Josipović
Preceded by Ivo Sanader
Succeeded by Zoran Milanović
Member of Parliament
In office
23 December 2011 – November 2015
Prime Minister Zoran Milanović
In office
7 September 1995 – 23 December 2003
Prime Minister Zlatko Mateša
Ivica Račan
5th Leader of the Opposition
In office
23 December 2011 – 21 May 2012
Prime Minister Zoran Milanović
Preceded by Zoran Milanović
Succeeded by Tomislav Karamarko
Leader of the Croatian Democratic Union
In office
4 July 2009 – 21 May 2012
Deputy Darko Milinović
Preceded by Ivo Sanader
Succeeded by Tomislav Karamarko
3rd Minister of Family, Veterans' Affairs and Intergenerational Solidarity
In office
23 December 2003 – 6 July 2009
Prime Minister Ivo Sanader
Preceded by Ivica Pančić
Succeeded by Tomislav Ivić
Personal details
Born (1953-07-01) 1 July 1953 (age 63)
Pakrac, Yugoslavia
(now Croatia)
Political party League of Communists of Yugoslavia (Before 1990)
Croatian Democratic Union (1995–2013)
Independent (2013–present)
Other political
Successful Croatia (2015–present)
Alma mater University of Zagreb

Jadranka Kosor (pronounced [jǎdraːnka kɔ̂sɔr]; born 1 July 1953) is a Croatian politician who served as the 9th Prime Minister of Croatia from 2009 to 2011, having taken office following the sudden resignation of her predecessor Ivo Sanader. Kosor was the first and so far only woman to become Prime Minister of Croatia since independence.[1] However, she is the second woman in Croatian post-World War II history to hold an office equivalent to a head of government, after Savka Dabčević-Kučar, who from 1967 until 1969 held the office of Chairman of the Executive Council (Prime Minister) and headed the 5th cabinet of the Socialist Republic of Croatia, a constituent republic of Yugoslavia.

Kosor started working as a journalist, following her graduation from Faculty of Law of University of Zagreb. During the Croatian War of Independence, she hosted a radio show dealing with refugee problems and disabled war veterans. She joined the centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) in 1989 and quickly climbed up the party hierarchy. In 1995 she was elected party vice-president and was elected to serve in Parliament for the first time. After the death of President and longtime HDZ leader Franjo Tuđman, Kosor supported Ivo Sanader's successful party leadership bid in 2000. Three years later, her party won the parliamentary election and Kosor became the Minister of Family, Veterans' Affairs and Inter-generational Solidarity in the Sanader I and, later, Sanader II cabinet, during which time she served as Deputy Prime Minister as well. In the 2005 presidential election she ran as a representative of HDZ, but lost to incumbent President Stipe Mesić in the second round. After the abrupt resignation of Sanader, Kosor managed to form a functioning parliamentary majority and was approved to her new post as Prime Minister in July 2009, also becoming leader of her party. Kosor was the party's candidate for Prime Minister in the 2011 general election, but HDZ lost in a landslide over the centre-left Kukuriku coalition, led by the Social Democratic Party. Kosor handed power to the new Prime Minister, Zoran Milanović, in December 2011.

As Prime Minister, Kosor failed to commit to structural reforms and introduced new taxes as a response to the ongoing economic crisis. During her tenure, she strongly advocated a zero tolerance policy to political corruption and organized crime. This uncompromising stance, along with the new criminal code passed before her term began, opened the door to unprecedented efforts to combat corruption. This resulted in numerous arrests of influential business-people and politicians from across the political spectrum, although most of them members of HDZ, which severely damaged the party's reputation. The discoveries made by prosecutors were far-reaching and criminal charges were even raised against former Prime Minister and Kosor's own political mentor Ivo Sanader, who would later be charged with 10 years in prison for criminal activity and abuse of power. In foreign policy, Kosor and her Slovenian counterpart Borut Pahor were successful in solving the long-standing border dispute and she is credited with successfully finishing the negotiating process of the Croatian accession to the European Union. On 9 December 2011, she and President Ivo Josipović signed the Treaty of Accession in Brussels. A moderate conservative, Kosor ran for another term as party leader after losing the election, however was defeated by the more conservative Tomislav Karamarko. After months of criticizing his leadership and the new party platform, she was expelled from HDZ by the party's High Court for damaging the party's reputation.

Early life[edit]

Jadranka Kosor was born in Lipik and finished her primary education in Pakrac.[2] She studied in Zagreb, where she graduated in law and began working as a journalist from 1972 as a correspondent for Večernji list and Radio Zagreb. In 1971, her book of poetry Koraci was published by the Pakrac branch of Matica hrvatska.[2] During the Croatian War of Independence, she worked as a radio-journalist and her show exploited war topics such as refugee problems and disabled war veterans.[3] She also worked briefly as a correspondent for the BBC during this time.

Kosor has published four books, two of poetry and two related to the Croatian War of Independence. She has a son, Lovro.


In 1995, Kosor became a representative in the Croatian Parliament as a member of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). She was also the vice-president of the Croatian Parliament. From 1999 to 2000, she was president of the HDZ's Women's Association Katarina Zrinski. She is credited with the number of female candidates from the HDZ in the 2000 elections doubling.[4]

Kosor was the vice-president of the HDZ party between 1995 and 1997, and from 2002 up to 2009, when she became the president of the party. In 2003, she became the minister in the Croatian department for Family, Veterans and Inter-generational Solidarity in the Croatian Government of Ivo Sanader.[3]

HDZ nominated her as their presidential candidate for the presidential election of 2005.[3] In the first round, she overtook Boris Mikšić by a few percent to reach the second place. She then faced off Stipe Mesić in the second round, but lost.

In July 2009, she was politically installed as the head of the Croatian Democratic Union following the resignation of Ivo Sanader.[5]

Prime Minister[edit]

Jadranka Kosor at an EPP summit in 2009, wearing a brooch, which is her well-known habit.[6]

On 1 July 2009, Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader suddenly and unexpectedly resigned, and suggested Kosor as the next prime minister. With the support of the coalition partners Kosor went to the President Stjepan Mesić who invited her to form a government. This resulted in the formation of the Kosor cabinet which contained most members of the previous Sanader administration. On July 6, Parliament approved the proposed cabinet with 83 votes in favor out of 153 members and Kosor was confirmed as the first female Prime Minister of Croatia after independence - actually the third in the history of the republic after two female Prime Ministers of Socialist Republic of Croatia.[7][8] The Opposition was not pleased with this development calling Sanader a coward and Kosor his puppet saying that an early general election was necessary.

Domestic policy[edit]

In the first month of her term Kosor, faced with a huge deficit and high unemployment, introduced an emergency budget aimed to reduce spending and the national debt. One of the most unpopular austerity measures taken along with the introduction of the budget was a new income tax called the "crisis tax" (krizni porez). In addition, the value-added tax rate was increased from 22% to 23%. Businesses criticized the tax hikes as well as the idea of tax code changes in the middle of the fiscal year as an unreasonable burden, while independent economists mostly noted how new taxes would cut consumer spending and further slow down the economy. The Opposition criticized the new measures heavily, calling the crisis tax harač, a historical Turkish loanword representing a tax implemented during the Ottoman Empire in the late Middle Ages. Indeed, the government's handling of finances was unpopular among the public resulting in the Prime Minister's dismal approval rating of 32% by the end of her first month.

In the last quarter of 2009 many public officials as well as members of the boards of various government agencies became suspected of participating in corrupt activities. An unprecedented number of officials were detained and arrested under these allegations which resulted in both praise and criticism of Kosor's government. The praise was mostly directed by those who believed that the government had finally taken a stronger stance against political corruption, while others criticized the fact that most suspects were, in fact, members of Kosor's own Croatian Democratic Union. The Opposition accused the government, especially the Prime Minister, for political responsibility claiming that it was impossible that Kosor didn't know what was happening around her when she was a Vice President of the government almost seven years before becoming Prime Minister. The accusations grew louder as more and more corruption affairs were tied with the former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader. On 30 October 2009 Damir Polančec, member of the HDZ Presidency, resigned as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy following allegations of corruption.

On 3 January 2010, Ivo Sanader announced he was returning to active politics saying it was a mistake he ever left. He accused Kosor and the members of the HDZ Presidency of failed leadership citing Andrija Hebrang's poor result in the first round of the presidential election held just a week earlier. Hebrang achieved an embarrassing 12% claiming third place, the lowest result for an HDZ presidential candidate ever. Ivo Josipović, the candidate of the largest opposition party, the Social Democratic Party of Croatia, won a landslide victory in the resulting runoff on 10 January. Most political pundits as well as the majority of the public believed the true reason of Sanader's surprise return was fear that he will eventually be tied with the numerous corruption scandals which have emerged since he left office. On 4 January, the day after Sanader's coup as it was called by the press, the HDZ Presidency decided to evict Sanader from the party. The Croatian public quickly rallied in support of Kosor against the hugely unpopular former prime minister, resulting in the highest support for any Prime Minister since polling began, topping at 77% by the end of February.

Throughout 2010, economy topped corruption as the biggest concern of the government, and the enthusiasm for Kosor and her government soon wore off. Industry shed tens of thousands of jobs, and unemployment soared. Consumer spending reduced drastically compared to record 2007 levels, causing widespread problems in the trade as well as transport industries. The import/export balance did derive a benefit from a large decrease in imports and a more tempered decrease in exports. The continuing declining standard resulted in a quick fall in both the Prime Minister's as well as government's support. In June, Kosor proposed loosening the labor law and making it more business friendly. This was greatly opposed by the unions who have organized a petition against the proposed changes demanding a referendum on the issue. The petition was signed by over 700,000 citizens, unprecedented in Croatia. Just as the Croatian labour law referendum, 2010 was being prepared, the government decided to drop the proposed changes. The Constitutional Court ultimately declared the referendum issue moot, but ordered the government not to subject any changes to the labor law in the following year. This was seen as a legal way to avoid the referendum which many speculated would be a referendum on the Government rather than on the labor law. The unions criticized the move calling it undemocratic, announcing protests.

Foreign relations[edit]

Jadranka Kosor with her colleague, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Jadranka Kosor signed an agreement with Borut Pahor, the premier of Slovenia, in November 2009, that ended Slovenia's blockade of Croatia's EU accession and allowed Croatian EU entry negotiations to proceed.

In August 2011, at the official celebration of Victory Day, Kosor sent a public greeting to Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač in particular. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia had previously found Gotovina and Markač guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder and conspiring with the wartime leadership of Franjo Tuđman to expel ethnic Serbs during and after the Operation Storm in 1995, in what was named a "joint criminal enterprise".[9][10] President of Serbia Boris Tadić condemned the statement saying that no election campaign or the struggle for power should be grounds for glorification of those who committed war crimes and that no one in Serbia would do such a thing. He also said that the statement of Jadranka Kosor does not help the development of good neighborly relations and reminded her of the civilian victims of the Operation Storm.[11] Milorad Pupovac, the leader of the Independent Democratic Serb Party, which is part of the ruling coalition in Croatia, called her statements dangerous and worrying.[12] Her act was condemned also by the leaders of the opposition parties Social Democratic Party of Croatia and Croatian People's Party – Liberal Democrats as well as the Deputy Prime Minister Slobodan Uzelac.[13] In response to these events, President of Croatia, Ivo Josipović, called for understanding for Serbs who mourn for those they lost during the Operation Storm.[14] Amnesty International expressed concern because of the greetings made by Jadranka Kosor.[15][16]

Standing in opinion polls[edit]

Jadranka Kosor's approval ratings
Date Event Approval (%)
1 August 2009 First month in office 32[17]
29 January 2010 After expelling Sanader from the party 71[18]
30 June 2010 Labour Union referendum 39[19]
25 December 2010 Arrest of Ivo Sanader 33[20]
25 November 2011 Last poll before losing the election 23[21]
27 February 2010 Personal High 77[22]
29 October 2010 Personal Low 22[23]
Career Average 39
Jadranka Kosor's approval ratings (IpsosPuls November 2009 – December 2011)


  1. ^ Skard, Torild (2014) "Croatia's Milka Planinc and Jadranka Kosor" in Women of power - half a century of female presidents and prime ministers worldwide, Bristol: Policy Press, ISBN 978-1-44731-578-0, pp. 326-33
  2. ^ a b "Djetinjstvo Jadranke Kosor: ljepotica i vunderkind". Slobodna Dalmacija (in Croatian). 2009-07-04. Retrieved 2011-03-14. 
  3. ^ a b c Jadranka Kosor (Members of Government) at the Wayback Machine (archived 19 January 2008). Vlada.hr. Retrieved on 2013-03-16.
  4. ^ Tremblay, Manon; Galligan, Yvonne (2005). Sharing Power: Women, Parliament, Democracy. Burlington, VT: Ashgate. p. 133. ISBN 0754640892. 
  5. ^ "Croatia closer to first woman PM". BBC News. 2009-07-04. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  6. ^ "Što Jadranka Kosor poručuje brošem u obliku leptira?". Jutarnji list (in Croatian). 2010-02-04. Retrieved 2011-03-28. Broševi, koje u skladu sa situacijama i aktualnim prigodama na svojim reverima mijenja Jadranka Kosor, postali su već svojevrstan zaštitni znak hrvatske premijerke. 
  7. ^ "Kosor Approved Croatia PM, Vows To Tackle Budget". javno. 2009-07-07. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  8. ^ "Jedanaesta vlada" (in Croatian). Croatian Information-Documentation Referral Agency. Retrieved 2010-12-10. 
  9. ^ "Croatian PM hails war crimes generals". AFP. 5 August 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  10. ^ "Croatian prime minister hails convicted war crimes generals". The Daily Telegraph. 5 August 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  11. ^ "Serbia. Tadić potępia Kosor za pozdrowienie skazanych generałów" (in Polish). Gazeta Wyborcza. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "Pupovac osudio premijerkin pozdrav Gotovini" (in Croatian). T-Portal. 7 August 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "Zbog pozdrava Gotovini na premijerku Jadranku Kosor ljuti i lijevi i desni" (in Croatian). Jutarnji list. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  14. ^ "Moramo razumjeti Srbe koji žale za svojim stradalima" (in Croatian). Jutarnji list. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  15. ^ "Amnesty International zabrinut zbog 'posebnog pozdrava' Jadranke Kosor Gotovini i Markaču" (in Croatian). Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  16. ^ Document – Croatia: Praise for "Operation Storm" creates climate of impunity. Amnesty.org (2011-03-09). Retrieved on 2013-03-16.
  17. ^ Nikad veća razlika: SDP 'potukao' HDZ, Nova TV
  18. ^ Nakon svih afera: SDP i HDZ čvrsto drže svoje pozicije, Nova TV
  19. ^ Pesimizam i nepovjerenje: Kosor snažno gubi popularnost!, Nova TV
  20. ^ SDP najjači, potpora Jadranki Kosor pala za 44 posto, Nova TV
  21. ^ Izbori 2011. – Crobarometar: Kampanja nikome nije donijela ništa, Nova TV
  22. ^ U ovom trenutku Kosor se 'dobro prodaje', Nova TV
  23. ^ Ekskluzivno: Dramatičan pad i HDZ-a i SDP-a!, Nova TV

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Mate Granić
Croatian Democratic Union nominee for President of Croatia
Succeeded by
Andrija Hebrang
Preceded by
Ivo Sanader
President of the Croatian Democratic Union
Succeeded by
Tomislav Karamarko
Political offices
Preceded by
Ivo Sanader
Prime Minister of Croatia
Succeeded by
Zoran Milanović
Preceded by
Zoran Milanović
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Tomislav Karamarko