In the presidential elections of May 1997, Tudjman, founder of the Christian Democratic Union (HDZ) in 1988, won a second term as president of Croatia, with 61.2% of the vote. International monitors, however, condemned the elections as seriously biased in favor of the incumbent. Zdravko Tomac of the socialist Social Democrat Party won 21.1% of the vote, and Vlado Gotovac of the moderate Social Liberal Party received 17.7%. After the death of Tudjman at the end of 1999, presidential elections were held in January and February 2000. Thirteen candidates successfully registered for the election. Stjepan Mesic of the Croatian People's Party (HNS), supported by the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS)/Istrian Democratic Sabor (IDS)/LS liberal coalition, defeated rival Drazen Budiša of the Social Democratic Party (SDP)/Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) coalition, 41.1% to 27.7% in the first round, with Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) candidate Mate Granic gaining 22.5% of the vote, and 56% to 44% in the second round of the ballot. Mesic won in 17 out of 21 counties. Voter turnout in round one was 63% and 61% in round two.
In parliamentary elections held on 3 January 2000, the center-left SDP/HSLS coalition won 71 of 151 seats in the House of Representatives (now Assembly); the HDZ was roundly defeated, gaining only 46 seats. The United List coalition (composed of the HSS, IDS, LS, HNS, and Croatian Social Democrats' Action or ASH), won 25 seats. The two coalitions took control of parliament from the HDZ. Ivica Racan became prime minister.