The outgoing Croatian President Stipe Mesic took office in February, 2000, having previously served as a prime minister and parliamentary speaker.
A former judge, this 74-year-old got involved in politics in the ’60s, serving as a mayor and local MP.
He was a candidate for the Croatian Democratic Union in 1990, for the first multi-party elections in Croatia since World War II.
Mesic became known as a liberal reformist, in favour of opening up the economy to foreign investment.
He pushed the country towards NATO membership, and says he is disappointed he was not able to achieve European Union membership during his time in office.
The president is a largely ceremonial figure in Croatia, with a say on foreign policy, security and defence, but no power to veto legislation.