(BBC - 09/07/09; AP, Deutsche Welle, Xinhua - 07/07/09; AFP - 06/07/09; Bloomberg - 01/07/09; Official Website of the Croatian Government)
The Croatian parliament endorsed Jadranka Kosor as the Balkan country's first woman prime minister on July 6th 2009, five days after Ivo Sanader's surprise resignation from the post. On July 4th, Kosor also replaced Sanader as the head of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).
Born on July 1st 1953 in the town of Pakrac in western Croatia, Kosor completed her secondary education in the nearby town of Lipik. She graduated with a law degree from the Faculty of Law in Zagreb, where she became a print and radio journalist in 1972.
During the 1991-1995 conflict, Kosor worked with Croatian Radio, hosting a radio show for refugees.
She entered politics in 1995, when she was elected as a MP and vice-president of the House of Representatives, following late President Franjo Tudjman's invitation for her to join HDZ. From 1998 to 2002, Kosor headed the conservative party's women's association "Katarina Zrinski".
At the HDZ's general convention in 2002, Kosor was elected deputy president of the party under Sanader.
After HDZ won the November 2003 general elections, Kosor was appointed deputy prime minister and minister in charge of family and veterans' issues.
In 2005, she ran for Croatia's presidency but was defeated in the runoff by the country's incumbent head of state Stipe Mesic.
Sanader stepped down nearly three months after Croatia's NATO entry on April 4th 2009, amid deep economic woes and blocked EU accession talks over the country's unresolved border dispute with neighbouring Slovenia.
Addressing parliament before it voted her in as prime minister on July 6th 2009, Kosor pledged to continue her predecessor's policies. Promising to lead the government with a "strong female hand", she named economic recovery and efforts to unblock the country's EU accession process as two of its top priorities.
"Croatia will become a full-fledged member of the European family ... despite historical short-sightedness of our northern neighbours," Kosor said in a reference to Slovenia.
She is fluent in English.
A single mother, Kosor is the author of two books of poetry and two on topics related to the 1991-1995 war in Croatia.