Nacional was founded by former editor and co-founder of Globus, Denis Kuljis. A "Global weekly", it is the strongest competitor of Globus. At first it followed a very similar editorial policy, focusing on sensational and often inaccurate revelations from the political life of Croatia and the Balkans, mixed with interviews of local celebrities and nudity. However, financial troubles soon led to the departure of Kuljis and his replacement with a former celebrity photographer Ivo Pukanic. At the time, it was believed that Pukanic was only a cover for the mysterious real boss of Nacional. However, soon after Pukanic's appointment, Nacional entered into an open conflict with the Croatian authorities. During 1998 and 1999 it uncovered several scandals (secret account of Croatian president Franjo Tudman, police surveillance of journalists and opposition politicians, rigging of the national soccer championship by the state secret services, evidence of embezzlement by the top Croatian officials etc.) that have shaken up the Croatian political scene. The authorities retaliated by placing Pukanic and its journalists under constant surveillance, arresting and questioning several of them and finally by searching the papers premises in June 1999. Unlike Feral, Nacional had connections with the sources deep within the HDZ regime and its secret services and used their infighting to obtain a series of compromising documents. In one of its attacks on the independent media, the Croatian government informed on October 11 1999, two months before the general elections, both Nacional and Feral Tribune that they owed close to $500,000 each in taxes for the unsold part of the circulation from 1998! The papers were also required to pay another $500,000 in taxes for the unsold part of the circulation in the first half of 1999. Both papers refused to pay and under international pressure the HDZ's government eventually decided to ignore its own threats to shut both publications down.
Pukanic and Nacional had a very ambitious start after the change of government in January 2000. The company decided to start a daily newspaper, in competition with Vecernji List (at the time state-owned), Jutarnji List (published by Nacional's biggest rival, Europa Press Holding), Vjesnik (state-owned), Slobodan Dalmacija (state-owned). Initially Nacional offered to buy low circulation Vjesnik, but this offer was rejected by the government. Consequently, daily Republika was launched with a bang. In its first issue, Pukanic accused his main rivals from Europapress Holding (Nino Pavic, then also Vinko Grubisic, Miroslav Kutle and Ivic Pasalic from HDZ) of "forming a criminal organization named Grupo" and "conspiring to form a cartel that would control the media in Croatia". According to documents published in Republika and Nacional, Europapress Holding enjoyed strong support of the HDZ although at first glance it was an independent publishing house with independent publications. The affair additionally undermined already shaky reputation of Nino Pavic and gave a head start to the new daily newspaper. The first issue of Republika sold 200,000 copies. The publication of the charges prompted the arrest of Pavic and Grubisic but they were soon released after the judiciary established that there was no basis for an indictment in the case.
The last issue of Republika was published on May 9, 2001. Unfortunately, after the promising start, the circulation later dropped to only 12,000 sold copies daily.
Nacional's web pages are in Croatian, and offer a selection of articles from the most recent issues. As of October 1999, Nacional offers on-line edition in English with full translations of several articles from the Croatian version of the web site. Translations of some of the interesting articles from the previous issues of Nacional are also posted.