The next elections for the President of Croatia are due to take place by direct popular vote on a date between 21 December 2019 and 20 January 2020, with a second round (if necessary) to take place on a date between 4 January 2020 and 3 February 2020 between the two candidates with the largest number of votes in the first round. Namely, the Constitution of Croatia states that a presidential election must be held no more than 60 days and no less than 30 days before the expiration of the incumbent president's term. They will be the seventh presidential elections since the first direct ones were held in 1992.
The incumbent President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, took office on 19 February 2015 and her term is due to end on 18 February 2020. If Grabar-Kitarović serves out her term in full until that date, the new presidential term will begin on 19 February 2020 and will be due to end on 18 February 2025. However, if she were to permanently vacate the office before the end of her current term (due to death, resignation or removal from office by impeachment), the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament, currently Gordan Jandroković, would assume the powers and duties of the presidency as Acting President of the Republic, while an early election would have to take place no later than 60 days from the date of the vacancy occurring (as per Article 97 of the Constitution).
President Grabar-Kitarović will be eligible for re-election to a second (and final) five-year term in this election. Furthermore, Ivo Josipović, her predecessor as president, is also eligible to run for re-election to a second and final term because he lost the 2015 elections after serving only one term from 2010 until 2015. If Grabar-Kitarović were to contest the elections and be defeated or if she were to choose not to run at all, the winner would be sworn in as the fifth President of Croatia since country's independence on 25 June 1991.
The President of Croatia is directly elected by secret ballot to a term of 5 years using a two-round system. The Constitution of Croatia requires that a presidential election be held no sooner than 60 days and no later than 30 days before the expiration of the incumbent president's term. An absolute majority (50% + 1 vote) of all votes cast (including invalid and blank ballots) is required to win in the first round. If no candidate acquires such a majority, a second round is to be held in 14 days time, with the two candidates with the highest number of votes in the first round taking part. The candidate who acquires the highest number of votes in the second round (a majority of valid cast votes) is declared the winner. If one of the candidates who has won a high enough number of votes to take part in the second round were to abandon his candidacy or die, the candidate with the next highest number of votes in the first round will earn the right to take part in the second round. Furthermore, Croatian presidents may serve a maximum of two 5-year terms in their lifetime (a total of 10 years if both terms are won and served out in full).
In order for a potential candidate to be legally allowed to contest the election and have their name placed on the ballot, they must gather at least 10,000 signatures from eligible voters, with every such signatory being permitted to give his signature of support to only one potential candidate. The time frame for collecting the said number of signatures is set at 12 days, and after the expiry of this period potential candidates must submit them to the State Electoral Commission for verification.