Tensions in Vucic’s cabinet over dismissals in police

Tensions in Vucic’s cabinet over dismissals in police

 

By Milos Mitrovic – Belgrade

The Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) led by Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Dacic should decide whether it will remain a member of the ruling coalition or go to the opposition, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has said. Vucic, who is the leader of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), the pillar group in the ruling coalition, reacted in this manner on the critical remarks about his moves by SPS high official Branko Ruzic (photo).

Ruzic has criticized both recent dismissals in the Interior Ministry and Vucic’s “conflict with some ambassadors”, “Blic” daily reported.

“I have clearly told Dacic that I will not tolerate such behavior from his officials and that we cannot act like this as a ruling coalition”, Vucic said to “Blic”. He explained that he has said this to Dacic at the government meeting adding that Dacic did not react.

SNS “did not deserve such treatment by certain SPS officials”, Vucic underlined.

At the same time Dacic said that SPS officials who have a position that differs from the one adopted by the party “should take responsibility”, obviously referring to Ruzic. Deputy PM told “Blic” that SPS had unanimously adopted the decision on taking part in the ruling coalition.

“Anyone who expresses a different position is delivering his own opinion which is not the official one. The personal opinion must be followed by the personal responsibility. Therefore, I will call SPS congress, because socialists must have a single politics”, Dacic stressed.

Serbian media speculate about Ruzic’s plan to challenge Dacic’s leadership in SPS.

Earlier this month Ruzic has criticized PM’s decision to sack a number of police officials amid claims that some of them were plotting against Vucic. According to Ruzic, the dismissed officials “are successful and have performed well”. The SPS official expressed skepticism over the plot scenarios.

“I could hardly conclude there’s a plot by tycoons, ambassadors, media and opposition against Aleksandar Vucic”, Ruzic told B92 Television.

In May, some Serbian newspapers had launched the stories on alleged plot by some police circles aimed at provoking the resignation of Vucic. The reports suggested that those circles have intended to blackmail Vucic on the basis of the alleged restaurant fight in which Vucic’s son allegedly took part.

Vucic and Ruzic had conflicts in the past. In January, Vucic said that Ruzic “has friends who are criminals”. Dacic is opposed to Ruzic’s positions on Vucic so far.

The serbian police has “suffered” during the premiership of Ivica Dacic, SNS vice-president Zorana Mihajlovic told “Politika” daily today. Dacic was both Prime Minister and Interior Minister from 2012 until April, after SNS had won a landslide victory in early elections. According to Mihajlovic, reforms in police have failed due to Dacic’s PM responsibilities, which “cannot be used as a justification”.