Božidar Kalmeta

Božidar Kalmeta
8th Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure
In office
23 December 2003  23 December 2011
Prime Minister Ivo Sanader (2003–09)
Jadranka Kosor (2009–11)
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Zlatko Komadina
Mayor of Zadar
In office
Preceded by Duško Kučina
Succeeded by Ana Lovrin
Member of Croatian Parliament
In office
Personal details
Born (1958-01-15) 15 January 1958
Zadar, SFR Yugoslavia
Political party Croatian Democratic Union
Spouse(s) Dolores Kalmeta
Alma mater University of Zagreb
(Faculty of Agronomy)

Božidar Kalmeta (pronounced [bǒʒidar kâlmeta]; born 15 January 1958) is a Croatian politician and member of the centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party. From 2003 to 2011 he served in the Croatian Government as Croatia's Minister of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure under HDZ Prime Ministers Ivo Sanader and Jadranka Kosor.

Early life

He graduated in 1982 from the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Agronomy.[1]

From 1982 to 1993 he worked in his hometown Zadar as a technologist and manager at the Maraska distilling company[2] (which produces the world famous Maraschino liqueur).

Political career

In 1989 he joined the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and in 1993 his full-time political career started after he was elected to the Zadar City Council. In 1994 he became Zadar's deputy mayor, and from 1994 to 2003 he served as mayor of the city.[2]

From 1995 to 2003 he was also a member of the Croatian Parliament, serving as one of representatives from Zadar County. At the 7th HDZ Convention he was elected party's Vice-President, beating Ivić Pašalić, and is currently a member of the party's presidency.

After HDZ won the Croatian parliamentary elections of 2003, Kalmeta was appointed to the newly created post of Minister of the Sea, Tourism, Transport and Development (which was created by merging three separate ministries) under Prime Minister Ivo Sanader. One of the chief accomplishments credited to his ministry was the completion of the A1 Highway linking the country's two largest cities, Zagreb and Split. In the next elections of 2007 HDZ won again and Kalmeta kept his post under Ivo Sanader's second term in office.

In February 2009, Kalmeta fired Davorin Kobak, the general manager of Croatian Railways, the national railway operator overseen by Kalmeta's Ministry, allegedly after a police wiretap operation uncovered a conspiracy to embezzle three million euros.[3] In June, USKOK arrested Kobak and two others and charged them with embezzlement.[4] In July and August, after the 2009 Rudine train derailment, Kalmeta intervened to replace several managers, and soon after, HŽ managers Ivan Medak, Drago Rogulj, Drago Ivanković were arrested for their role in causing the fatal Rudine accident, with several others.[5]

In November 2009, Kalmeta's long-time associate the State Secretary Zdravko Livaković unexpectedly resigned[6] and after that the Government fired much of the management of the public company Hrvatske autoceste,[7] the largest recipient of Kalmeta's Ministry budget money. Soon afterwards, three former managers of Hrvatske autoceste, Jurica Prskalo, Mario Lovrinčević and Goran Legac, were arrested for embezzling over 21 million kuna on a public tender, together with a chief engineer Željko Kandžija and owner of a private construction company Slaven Žužul.[8]

Kalmeta has consistently claimed he never knew about those affairs and has refused to take any kind of responsibility.[9][10] President Stjepan Mesić was one of many who suggested Kalmeta needed to resign.[11] After another railway accident on November 21 near Rijeka, the railway workers union sent an open letter of complaint to the minister.[12] On December 11, 2009, Kalmeta underwent an interpellation and survived a vote of no confidence.[13]

In December 2010, Kalmeta dismissed the last remaining member of the Board of Directors of Hrvatske autoceste, Josip Sapunar, after he was indicted for participating in a large-scale embezzlement scheme.[14] The latter subsequently testified in USKOK and accused the minister of complicity.[15] In June 2015 Kalmeta and 12 others were indicted by USKOK for corruption.[16]

Personal life

Kalmeta is married with three children.[2] He speaks English and Italian[2] and his hobbies include spearfishing, jogging and reading.


  1. "Ministar" (in Croatian). Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure. Archived from the original on 16 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-30.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Božidar Kalmeta Biography". Government of Croatia. Archived from the original on 1 May 2010.
  3. "Kobak htio prisvojiti 3 milijuna eura?", Croatian Radiotelevision, February 19, 2009 Archived February 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. Uhićen bivši direktor HŽ-a Davorin Kobak, T-portal, July 15, 2009
  5. "Kriminal u HŽ-u - Kalmeta: Nitko u HŽ-u neće biti zaštićen; privedenima određen pritvor" Archived July 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., Večernji list, July 28, 2009
  6. "Kalmetin najbliži suradnik Zdravko Livaković dao ostavku - Livaković: Glavna je zvijezda lupeški sindikalac koji ne dolazi na posao", Večernji list, November 4, 2009
  7. "Vlada konačno smijenila Upravu HAC-a, novi šef Stjepko Boban!",, November 21, 2009
  8. "Obračun s korupcijom - Pohapšen dio bivše Uprave HAC-a i jedan od vlasnika Skladgradnje", Jutarnji list, November 26, 2009
  9. "Kalmeta: Ne mogu preuzeti sve grijehe svijeta!". Retrieved 2012-02-12.
  10. "Kalmeta: Nisam ja odgovoran ako netko u poduzećima krade". 2011-01-04. Retrieved 2012-02-12.
  11. "'Da sam Kalmeta, ponudio bih ostavku!'". (in Croatian). 30 November 2009. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  12. Apel nakon nesreće 'Ministre Kalmeta, željeznički sustav se raspada!', T-portal, November 24, 2009
  13. "Ministar preživio glasovanje u Saboru - Nisu ga dali: Kalmeta će i dalje graditi autoceste", Jutarnji list, December 11, 2009
  14. "Kalmeta smijenio Sapunara s mjesta člana uprave HAC-a, Aktualno, hrvatska". Retrieved 2012-02-12.
  15. "Kalmeta naređivao koruptivne poslove HAC-a i Fimi medije!?" [Kalmeta ordered corrupted deals with Croatian motorways and Fimi media!?]. Nacional (in Croatian). 7 January 2011. Archived from the original on 25 July 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  16. "Podnesena optužnica protiv Kalmete: 'Potvrdi li je sud, dajem ostavku na stranačke funkcije'". Večernji list (in Croatian). 5 June 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
Political offices
Preceded by
Duško Kučina
Mayor of Zadar
Succeeded by
Ana Lovrin
Preceded by
Pave Župan-Rusković
as Minister of Tourism
0Minister of the Sea, Tourism, Transport and Development0
Succeeded by
Damir Bajs
as Minister of Tourism
Preceded by
Roland Žuvanić
as Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Communications
Succeeded by
as Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure
Preceded by
Office established
0Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure0
Succeeded by
Zlatko Komadina
as Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure
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