Ivo Sanader (born Ivica Sanader; 8 June 1953) is a Croatian politician who served as the Prime Minister of Croatia from 2003 to 2009.
Sanader obtained his education in comparative literature in Austria, where he also worked as a journalist, in marketing, publishing and also as a private entrepreneur. In the 1990s, he was briefly in charge of the theatre in Split before becoming the Minister of Science and Technology as a member of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). Soon thereafter, he moved to diplomacy, and served two terms as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
He was elected leader of the HDZ party in 2000 and 2002, and with them won the 2003 election, becoming the Prime Minister. He was also reelected in the 2007 parliamentary elections. In June 2009, Sanader abruptly resigned his post, leaving scarce explanation for his actions, and rumours of involvement in various criminal cases circulated. In January 2010, he tried to stage a political comeback inside HDZ, but was ejected from party membership.
In December 2010, the Croatian authorities charged him in two high-profile corruption indictments, but he fled the country and was arrested in Austria, being extradited to Croatia in July 2011. In November 2012 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison in a first instance verdict.
Ivo Sanader was born in Split, into a religious, poor working family with four siblings. Since his family was financially unable to educate all five children, his mother asked the rector of Archbishopric Classical Gymnasium to accept Ivo as their student. After completing his high school education, Sanader moved to Rome to pursue higher education in philosophy. He soon realized that he did not like the academic environment there very much. Following his return from Rome he met his future spouse, Mirjana Šarić, whom he married in 1978.
After their wedding, Ivo and Mirjana left Split for Innsbruck. His wife studied archaeology, while Ivo studied comparative literature and Romance languages at the University of Innsbruck. The young couple was accompanied, while studying in Innsbruck, by Ivo’s younger brother Miro who also lived and studied in Innsbruck. During that time, Sanader also reported for the Zagreb sport newspaper Sportske novosti.
In 1982, Sanader graduated, and returned to Croatia (then Yugoslavia) with his wife. He found a job in the marketing department of Dalmacijaturist, however he did not stay long. He found his next job at the publishing house Logos in 1983 where he was employed as a program editor. In 1988, he became a chief editor and at one time he was working on the organization of the magazine Mogućnost. His career at the publishing house was later terminated suddenly. At that time, his wife also received a notice of termination from her workplace.
Sanader then decided to return to Austria with his family. There he co-founded two private businesses, one in 1989 which was liquidated by a court in 1992, while the other existed between 1986 and 2001. Sanader obtained a B.A. in Romance languages and comparative literature from Innsbruck University in Austria.
Apart from his native Croatian, he is fluent in English, German, French, and Italian.