Croatia’s former prime minister Ivica Racan has died. He was 63. He passed away in hospital on Sunday morning after kidney cancer discovered in February spread to his brain. As head of the Croatian Communist Party in 1990, Racan allowed the country’s first free elections.
The result brought the nationalist, independence seeking HDZ to power and led to Croatia’s secession from Yugoslavia. His renamed Social Democratic Party remained in opposition for a decade until he led a broad centre-left coalition into government. As prime minister, he is credited with introducing political and economic reforms which ended Croatia’s international isolation and set the country on the road towards European Union membership.