Ivo Josipović

Ivo Josipović is a Croatian politician, the third and current President of Croatia, having taken office in 2010.

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Ivo Josipović (Croatian pronunciation: [ǐːv̞ɔ jɔsǐːpɔv̞it͡ɕ] ( listen); born 28 August 1957) is a Croatian politician, the third and current President of Croatia, having taken office in 2010.[2][3][4] Josipović entered politics as a member of the League of Communists of Croatia (SKH), and played a key role in the democratic transformation of this party as the author of the first statute of the SDP that replaced the SKH-SKJ. He left politics in 1994, but returned in 2003 as an independent Member of Parliament. In addition to politics, Josipović has also worked as a university professor, legal expert, musician and composer.

Josipović entered the 2009–2010 presidential election as the official candidate of the SDP, which he had rejoined in 2008. In the first round he topped eleven rivals with 32.4% of the vote, and entered the second round with the independent candidate Milan Bandić who had secured 14.8%. He went from being almost unknown to the general public in Croatia to winning 60.26% in the final election. He campaigned for Nova Pravednost (New Justice), calling for a new social and legal framework to address the deep social injustices, corruption and organised crime. This includes the protection of individual rights and the promotion of such fundamental values as equality, human rights, LGBT rights, justice, diligence, social empathy and creativity.[5]

Josipović was inaugurated as the third Croatian President on February 18, 2010, at St. Mark's Square, Zagreb. His term officially began at midnight on February 19.


Ivo Josipović's parents are originally from Baška Voda in Dalmatia. Josipović, however, was born in Zagreb, where he attended both primary school and a secondary music school. As a teenager he was a promising football player.[6]

He is married to Tatjana, a civil law professor and legal expert.[7] They have one daughter, Lana (born c. 1991).[7][8]

Apart from his native Croatian, he speaks English fluently and has some understanding of German.[9]


Josipović with wife Tatjana and daughter Lana.

Ivo Josipović attended the Faculty of Law of the University of Zagreb, from which he graduated passing his bar examination in 1980. He completed his M.A. in criminal law in 1985 and his Ph.D. in criminal sciences in 1994. He began as a lecturer at the same law faculty in 1984, and has since become a Professor for criminal procedure law, international criminal law and misdemeanour law.[8]

Josipović has been a visiting researcher at a number of prestigious institutes including the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg in Breisgau, Germany, the Institute for Criminal Law of the University of Graz, Austria, as well as the HEUNI Institute (European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control) in Helsinki, Finland. He has also spent time as a private researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and Private International Law in Hamburg, Germany as well the Yale University in the USA. As member of several domestic and international legal and artists' associations he published over 85 academic and professional papers in domestic and international journals.[8] In year 1994, he co-founded the independent Hrvatski pravni centar (Croatian Law Center).[8] Josipović helped to save 180 Croatian prisoners of war from Serbian detention centers and has represented Croatia before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[10] He participated in several international projects and acted as a Council of Europe expert in evaluation of prisons in Ukraine, Mongolia and Azerbaijan.[8]


After graduating from a secondary music school he enrolled at the Composition Department of the Zagreb Music Academy under the tutelage of renowned scholar Stanko Horvat. He graduated in 1983 majoring in composition.[7] Between 1987 and 2004 Josipović was also a lecturer at the Zagreb Music Academy.[11]

Josipović composed some 50 chamber music pieces for various instruments, chamber orchestra and symphony orchestra. In 1985 he won an award from the European Broadcasting Union for his composition "Samba da Camera" and in 1999 he was awarded the Porin Award for the same composition,[12] which was followed by another Porin Award in 2000 for his piece titled "Tisuću lotosa" ("A Thousand Lotuses").[13] His most successful pieces also include "Igra staklenih perli" (The Glass Bead Game) and "Tuba Ludens".[8] These pieces are performed by numerous musicians in Croatia and abroad.[8] Since 1991 Josipović also served as director of the Music Biennale Zagreb (MBZ), an international festival of contemporary classical music.[7]

During the 2010 election campaign Josipović announced that as president he will compose an opera based on the murder of John Lennon.[14]


Victory speech of Ivo Josipović on 10 January 2010.

In 1980 Ivo Josipović became a member of the League of Communists of Croatia. He played a key role in the democratic transformation of this party as the author of the first statute of the Social Democratic Party of Croatia (SDP). In 1994, he left politics and the SDP, dedicating himself to law and music. Upon the invitation of Ivica Račan, acting Prime Minister at the time, he returned to politics in 2003, and became an independent MP with the SDP and Vice-President of the SDP Representatives' Group in the Croatian Parliament. During his mandate in 2005, he was also a representative in the Assembly of the City of Zagreb. In 2007, he was re-elected to the Croatian Parliament. He formally renewed his SDP membership in 2008. On July 12, 2009 he was elected as the party's official presidential candidate.[8] As MP he served on various parliamentary committees dealing with legislative, judiciary and constitutional questions, as well as for defining parliamentary rules of procedure and the political system.[8]

Presidential election

  • On 20 June 2009, Josipović was nominated as one of the official SDP candidates for the Croatian presidential election, 2009–2010.[15] He won in a primary against Ljubo Jurčić on 12 July, becoming the party's official candidate.
  • On 27 December 2009, Josipović won the first round of the presidential election with 32.42% of the vote. He faced Milan Bandić (runner-up with 14.83%) in the second round on 10 January 2010.
  • On 10 January 2010 he was elected as the 3rd president of Croatia with 60.26% of the vote, beating Milan Bandić in the second round.[citation needed]

President of Croatia

Polish President Lech Kaczyński with Ivo Josipović in 2010

In April 2010, Josipović met with the Bosnian Croat Catholic archbishop cardinal Vinko Puljić and the head of the Islamic Community reis Mustafa Cerić and the three made a joint visit at the sites of Ahmići massacre and Križančevo selo killings, and paid respect to the victims.[16] Ivo Josipović made an official visit to Bosnia during which he addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina,[17] and in his speech he expressed a "deep regret" for Croatia's involvement in efforts to divide Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s, resulting in the Croat-Bosniak war and suffering for many people on both sides.[18] The presidency of the Croatian Democratic Union condemned the apology.[19] Jadranka Kosor, the current Prime Minister and member of the Croatian Democratic Union, criticized Josipović and accused him of breaching the constitution.[20] The vice president of the Croatian Democratic Union, Andrija Hebrang, contested that Josipović should have visited Bleiburg before Ahmići and Grabovica.[21]

He has chosen a couple of counselors who have caused scandals.[22] Josipović's first option as counselour for rural areas and agriculture was Mato Mlinarić, who was dismissed two hours after being appointed when the press discovered that he had some non-paid tax debts.[22][23] Former journalist Drago Pilsel served as Josipović's counselor for a month, but left the position after a publishing a column in which he insulted his opponents.[24][25]

In May 2010, Josipović met the leaders of Republika Srpska Rajko Kuzmanović and Milorad Dodik, as well as the prominent Bosniak leader Sulejman Tihić, and visited the site of the Sijekovac killings to pay respect to the victims.[26] The site and the visit provoked some controversy in the Croatian public, with allegations of impropriety levelled against President Josipović and the authorities of Republika Srpska for misattributing some of the casualties.[27] During a visit to Israel in February 2012, Josipovic apologized for the Ustaše crimes against Jews in 40's. Josipovic's apology was accompanied by a number of critics in Croatia because for these crimes 10 years ago, apologized his predecessor Stjepan Mesić.Josipovic also said that "he is the son of Tito's partisan".[28]

Standing in opinion polls

Ivo Josipović's approval ratings since taking office (conducted by IpsosPuls).

In the year 2010 President Josipović had on average maintained a very high 81% approval rating (according to Ipsos), surpassing the former president Stjepan Mesić.[29] With ratings reaching as high as 84% in May, August and December[30] in 2010 and 2011, Ivo Josipović was ranked as the most popular Croatian politician in the past 20 years (with the possible exception of Franjo Tuđman), since Croatia's secession from Yugoslavia.[31] However, while he remains the most popular Croatian active politician, in the first half of the 2012 his popularity suffered a decline: from ratings of over 80% at the end of 2011 and 84% in February, 2012, to 74.2% in March, 2012 and 68.8% in April 2012.[32]

Ivo Josipović's approval ratings
Date Event Approval (%)
29 January 2010 After being elected 72[33]
27 February 2010 Inauguration 78[34]
25 March 2010 First month in office 83[35]
30 April 2010 After apologizing in Croatia's name 84[36]
25 November 2010 Serbian president apologizes for Vukovar 81[37]
9 January 2011 Personal High 87[38]
26 April 2012 Personal Low 68.8[32]
N/A Career Average ?


  1. Ustav Republike Hrvatske (pročišćeni tekst) 7 May 2001
  2. "Josipović: Hvala na čestitkama! Strpimo se još malo" (in Croatian), Jutarnji list, 11 January 2010, http://www.jutarnji.hr/josipovic--hvala-na-cestitkama--strpimo-se-jos-malo/476768/
  3. "Ivo Josipović treći hrvatski predsjednik" (in Croatian), hrt.hr (Croatian Radiotelevision), 11 January 2010, http://www.hrt.hr/index.php?id=275&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=59082&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=274&cHash=ed56f6f29c
  4. Social Democrat Ivo Josipović elected Croatia president, BBC News, 11 January 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8450380.stm, retrieved 2010-02-18
  5. "New Justice" (PDF). Ivo Josipović Main campaign page. http://www.josipovic.net/wp-content/uploads/Ivo-Josipovic-new-justice.pdf.[dead link]
  6. Šetka, Diana (20 August 2009). "IVO I TATJANA JOSIPOVIĆ: Naših dvadeset godina ljubavi" (in Croatian). Gloria (763). http://www.gloria.com.hr/vijesti/showpage.php?id=8761. Retrieved 2009-12-31.
  7. Ožegović, Nina (14 April 2009). "Ivo Josipović – presidential ambitions of an avant-garde composer". Nacional (700). Archived from the original on 25 July 2012. http://www.nacional.hr/en/clanak/50316/ivo-josipovic-presidential-ambitions-of-an-avant-garde-composer. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  8. Ivo Josipović. "Resume". Main campaign page. http://www.josipovic.net/wp-content/uploads/Ivo-Josipovic-resume.pdf.
  9. Ivo Josipović - Predsjednik Hrvatske
  10. "Josipović: Sudjelovao sam u spašavanju 180 branitelja i obranio Hrvatsku od Haaga [Josipović: I took part in saving 180 Croatian veterans and defended Croatia against the Hague]" (in Croatian). Nacional. 7 December 2009. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. http://www.nacional.hr/clanak/73027/josipovic-sudjelovao-sam-u-spasavanju-180-branitelja-i-obranio-hrvatsku-od-haaga. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  11. (Croatian) Ivo Josipović personal home page
  12. "Dobitnici Porina 1999." (in Croatian). Croatian Wikipedia. 21 January 2007. http://hr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dobitnici_Porina_1999.. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
  13. "Dobitnici Porina 2000." (in Croatian). Croatian Wikipedia. 21 January 2007. http://hr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dobitnici_Porina_2000.. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
  14. Ivo Josipovic, Croatia’s new president, to write an opera on John Lennon
  15. "12. srpnja: Jurčić ili Josipović?". sdp.hr. Social Democratic Party of Croatia. 20 June 2009. http://www.sdp.hr/vijesti/aktualno/12-srpnja-jurcic-ili-josipovic. Retrieved 2009-12-28.[dead link]
  16. "Predsjednik RH u Ahmićima - Josipović s Puljićem i Cerićem odao počast žrtvama rata u BiH" (in Croatian). Novi list. April 15, 2010. http://www.novilist.hr/Vijesti/Novosti/josipovic-s--puljicem-i--cericem.aspx. Retrieved April 15, 2010.[dead link]
  17. "Govor predsjednika Josipovića u parlamentu BiH". Croatian Radiotelevision. 2010-04-14. http://www.hrt.hr/index.php?id=48&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=69707&cHash=fef6f4f19d. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  18. "Josipovic apologizes for Croatia´s role in war in Bosnia". Croatian Times. April 15, 2010. http://www.croatiantimes.com/news/General_News/2010-04-15/10325/Josipovic_apologizes_for_Croatia%B4s_role_in_war_in_Bosnia.
  19. "Josipović's apology diminishes Milošević's guilt". SEEbiz. 16 April 2010. http://www.seebiz.eu/en/politics/josipovic%27s-apology-diminishes-milosevic%27s-guilt,74514.html.[dead link]
  20. Raseta, Boris (17 April 2010). "Croatian president stirs hornet's nest with apology". Monsters and Critics. http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/features/article_1548903.php/Croatian-president-stirs-hornet-s-nest-with-apology-News-Feature.
  21. Grdic, Tina (15 April 2010). "Josipovic introduced Croatia to the aggressor list". Dalje. http://dalje.com/en-croatia/josipovic-introduced-croatia-to-the-aggressor-list/302048.
  22. Josipović i sedam poučaka: Tko kaže da je novi predsjednik dosadan? - Vijesti.net - Index.hr
  23. PravDA za SVE! ili ? - pollitika: Neovisni, ali ne i neutralni
  24. Dnevnik.hr - Pilsel vrijeđao, Josipović ga brani: 'Nije moj savjetnik'
  25. Pilsel odlazi iz Josipovićevog ureda zbog novinarstva, Kajin mu odgovorio: "Gazda će čistiti" > Slobodna Dalmacija > Hrvatska
  26. "Hrvatski predsjednik dočekan pljeskom - Josipović odao počast ubijenim srpskim civilima" (in Croatian). Novi list. 2010-05-30. http://www.novilist.hr/2010/05/31/josipovic-odao-pocast-ubijenim-s.aspx. Retrieved 2010-06-02.[dead link]
  27. "Posavljaci Josipoviću - Ne idite u Bosansku Posavinu, Dodik će vas prevariti" (in Croatian). Slobodna Dalmacija. 2010-05-29. http://www.slobodnadalmacija.hr/Spektar/tabid/94/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/104161/Default.aspx. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
  28. http://www.vecernji.hr/vijesti/josipovic-knessetu-i-ja-sam-dijete-titova-partizana-clanak-377217.
  29. "Josipović najpopularniji - Prepolovljena prednost SDP-a pred HDZ-om, za Kukuriku 40,5 posto" (in Croatian). Večernji list. 2010-07-28. http://www.vecernji.hr/vijesti/prepolovljena-prednost-sdp-a-pred-hdz-om-kukuriku-40-5-posto-clanak-172990. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  30. Dnevnik.hr - SDP najjači, potpora Jadranki Kosor pala za 44 posto
  31. "Tko je najpopularniji hrvatski političar dosad? Ivo Josipović je najpopularniji hrvatski političar u zadnjih 20 godina. Možda mu je samo Tuđman mogao parirati" (in Croatian). Jutarnji list. 2010-09-11. http://www.jutarnji.hr/ivo-josipovic-je-najpopularniji-hrvatski-politicar-u-zadnjih-20-godina--mozda-mu-je-samo-tudman-mogao-parirati/885223/. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  32. Istraživanje: Popularnost Ive Josipovića i HNS-a strmoglavo pada | HRsvijet.net - Hrvatski svijet
  33. IpsosPuls Agency poll, 29 January 2010, Nova TV
  34. IpsosPuls Agency poll, 27 February 2010
  35. IpsosPuls Agency poll, 25 March 2010
  36. IpsosPuls Agency poll, 30 April 2010
  37. IpsosPuls Agency poll, 25 November 2010
  38. IpsosPuls Agency poll, 9 January 2011, Nova TV