Zoran Milanović became Croatia’s fifth president on Tuesday, taking the oath of office at the Presidential Palace in a modest ceremony.
The ceremony began with an unusual rendition of the national anthem by Josipa Lisac, followed by the swearing-in ceremony before the Justices of the Constitutional Court.
“I swear with my honor that I will carry out the duty of the President of the Republic conscientiously and responsibly, to the benefit of the Croatian people and all Croatian citizens,”
"As the President of the Constitutional Court, I hereby confirm that all the Constitutional and legal conditions have been met for the transfer of presidential powers," replied Constitutional Court President Miroslav Šeparović.
In his speech Millanović said, in carrying out his duty, he would act not as a corrective but a constructive political factor and called for solidarity in society.
"I ask of you a bit of understanding for the mistakes I will make, because there will be mistakes, but these mistakes will never be intentional nor intended to hurt or demean anyone. I will do everything in my power to take that seed of trust you have given me and grow it into a presidential term that benefits a modern Croatia and all of its citizens,” he said.
In a call for solidarity, Milanović said, “Croatia belongs to unskilled workers as much as it does to respected academics. Croatia belongs equally to the unemployed carpenter, the overworked programmer, the underpaid supermarket checker, and the manager in a private or public company. Strengthening social solidarity, fostering a more equitable distribution of wealth, curbing clientelism are the main and most effective tools in the fight against inequality, and human alienation. Our republic needs every person and every person in our country deserves a chance to find their path and place in life, to live with dignity and in peace from honest work. This is our house, for all of us, for us who are here now, for the coming generations, for those who will come back home. Long live the Republic of Croatia," Milanović concluded.
The new president thanked all of his predecessors, saying they had all performed their duties in good faith and to the maximum of their ability.
Milanović is no newcomer to politics. He was the leader of the social democrats and served as prime Minster from 2011 to 2016.
The inauguration ceremony was a modest affair, with only around 40 guests. Milanović broke with tradition, opting to hold the ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Pantovčak, instead of in St. Mark's Square.
It was beautiful, dignified and festive, is how Orsat Miljenić, President Milanović's Chief of Staff described the ceremony.
"It was appropriate for our country, for the office of the president. This is just one event, the inauguration, the swearing-in, the transition of power - the work goes on. I think it was really appropriate for what Croatia is today," Miljenić said.
The ceremony, according to Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, was shorter, more modest and with fewer guests than usual. He considers President Milanovic's speech a good start to his term.
“Despite our differences, both political and ideological, we all have to contribute to the betterment of the Republic of Croatia, working together. We have to be accountable to our country and the people who gave us their trust,” Jandroković said.
Former President Ivo Josipović highlighted three key points from the new president's first speech.
“It was a very good, modern speech. Without delving into day to day politics, he underscored some very important values and three key issues: science, education, and health care,” said Josipović.
Finance Minister Zdravko Marić congratulated the new president from Brussels. Marić said the cost of today's ceremony, around one hundred thousand kuna, sends a good symbolic message to the public.
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