The first female president in the history of Croatia has been sworn in. Togetherness, progress, patriotism - these are the main messages in the first speech Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović made as President of the Republic of Croatia.
The ceremony began just after the firing of the Grič Cannon at noon and the ringing of the bells of the Church of St. Mark. The President, accompanied by her husband Jakov, arrived at the Square of St. James by furnicular, passing Ćirilometodska Street between rows of citizens and ceremonial armed forces, while the inauguration itself was attended by the Honour Guard Battalion whose members represented the uniforms of all branches of the Armed Forces. The crowd on St. Mark's Square crowd greeted Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović with applause. Wearing an elegant blue coat and a classic hairstyle, the President warmly greeted the many citizens present.
After the anthem 'Lijepa naša domovino' was played, there was a minute of silence for those who were killed during the Homeland War. Soloist Renata Sabljak sang 'Dej mi Bože' a capella, a song from the Međimurje region. This was followed by the swearing in, or the oath. After the oath, the new President paid tribute to the national flag, while at the same time Armed Forces' cannons fired ten honourable shots from Tuškanac hill. The 'Anthem to Freedom' by Ivan Gundulić was recited during the honours to the national flag.
The inaugural speech of the first female Croatian president followed, after which there was a performance program: the Wind Orchestra of the Croatian Army performed 'Oda zemlji' by Jakov Gotovac from the opera 'Mila Gojsalića', the folk ensemble Lado sang the traditional song 'Lijepo pjeva za lugom djevojka', and Radojka Šverko, accompanied by the Army Orchestra, sang 'Ljubim te do bola'. An aria from 'Ere s onog svijeta' by Jakov Gotovac followed, performed by the choirs of the folk ensemble 'Lado', Croatian Radiotelevision, Ivan Goran Kovačić and Izvor. The ceremonial inauguration ended with the song 'Dream for the Future' performed by the choir Izvor, after which Croatian and foreign guests congratulated the first female Croatian president.
Alongside the HDZ delegation led by President Tomislav Karamarko, the inauguration was attended by the Head of the Croatian EPP delegation to the European Parliament and Vice-President of the HDZ Dubravka Šuica, as well as other Croatian MEPs.
As well as current and former government officials, 88 foreign delegations attended the inauguration ceremony, including eight heads of state, representatives of political, cultural, religious life, and citizens. After the ceremony there was a reception, followed by a lunch attended by 40 invited guests, following which the President held a series of bilateral meetings.