Serbian PM asks parliament to dismiss defence minister

Serbian Prime Minister Vucic sends letter to parliament demanding sacking of defence minister due to his words about female reporter

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic holds a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia, January 14, 2016.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic sent a letter to parliament on Saturday requesting the dismissal of Defence Minister Bratislav Gasic due to his sexist comments about a female reporter, Reuters has reported.

Gasic is senior official in Vucic’s ruling Serbian Progressive Party.

The defence minister’s sexist remarks caused outraged protests by journalists in the country’s capital Belgrade in December where journalists demanded Gasic's immediate removal.

He said to a female reporter "I love these journalists who kneel so easily."

A government statement said Vucic presented a letter to lawmakers seeking Gasic's dismissal at an urgent session of parliament on February 5.

"Prime Minister Vucic thanked Gasic for his very good results in terms of combat readiness of the military...and the development of the defence industry, but he believes that words he used could not and should be not used in public," it said.

The prime minister asked Finance Minister Dusan Vujovic to act as defence minister until a new one is appointed.

Gasic has been accused of corruption several times.

The country’s Anti-Corruption Agency accused him in September of having a conflict of interest when he awarded contracts to companies linked to his family while he was mayor of the city of Krusevac.

He has also been accused of being connected with incidents of violence that occurred in a Gay Pride parade in Belgrade.

Opposition parties also said that Gasic was responsible for an army helicopter crash in March in which seven people died, including a five-year-old baby.

Gacis denied all of the allegations.

Serbia will hold snap elections this spring.

TRTWorld and agencies