Croatian Veterans Affairs Minister Mijo Crnoja resigned Thursday under pressure of scandals and a democratically dubious proposal, less than a week after the country's new cabinet took office.
A member of the conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Crnoja drew criticism even before he assumed office with a plan to launch a "registry of traitors," which critics saw as a threat against opponents.
Calls for him to be dropped from Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic's cabinet grew after disclosure that Crnoja made a murky property deal and had a suspicious status as a veteran from Croatia's independence war in 1991-95.
"I am not guilty of what I was accused, but I don't want to be ballast in the new government," he told reporters in Zagreb.
The formally non-partisan Oreskovic's government, backed by a the HDZ and their junior partners, the MOST, a newcomer ticket grouping regional parties, was sworn in at midnight on January 23.
MOST had asked for Crnoja's resignation, which brought the stability of the new government into question even before it held the first regular cabinet meeting on Thursday.
Crnoja's tenure is the shortest of any minister since Croatia claimed independence 25 years ago, the daily 24Sata reported online.
The latest addition to the European Union, Croatia must implement hard reforms to secure fragile economic recovery that emerged a year ago after six years of recession.