Born on 24 December 1934 in Orahovica.
Married, two daughters.
Graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Zagreb in 1961.
During his studies was a prominent student leader.
Entered the political scene as a member of Parliament in the Socialist Republic of Croatia (Sabor).
In the early 1970s sentenced to and served a one year prison term (Stara Gradiška) for his participation in the movement advocating Croatia's equality within the Yugoslavia of the time, the so-called Croatian Spring.
In the early 1990s entered the HDZ /Croatian Democratic Union/ movement (later party).
Since 1990 Secretary of the HDZ and later Chairman of its Executive Committee. After the first multi-party and free elections appointed the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia (May 1990 - August 1990) and pursuant to the resolution of the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia became Croatia's member in the Presidency of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (August 1990 - May 1991). Held the post of the president of the Presidency of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavi until December 1991.
In 1992, in the independent Croatian state elected Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia.
Remained in office until 1994 when he was removed after leaving the HDZ and founding a new political party - the Independent Croatian Democrats (HND) - due to his dissatisfaction with the total HDZ policy and particularly the policy towards Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In 1997 after a split in the HND party with a majority of the HND members entered the Croatian People's Party (HNS) and held the post of Executive Vice-President of the HNS party and Chairman of the municipal organisation of the same party in the city of Zagreb.
On 7 February 2000 elected President of the Republic of Croatia and subsequently left the party wanting to be the President of all the citizens of Croatia.
On 16 January 2005 reelected for the President of the Republic of Croatia
Knowledge of the Russian and French languages.