President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, speaking in a television interview on Wednesday, accused former Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA) chief Dragan Lozancic of having served as a "personal intelligence officer" for former Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic.
Grabar-Kitarovic decided to relieve Lozancic as SOA chief in late January and Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic co-signed her decision about a month ago. The president and the prime minister have nominated Daniel Markic to replace Lozancic.
Explaining her decision at the time, the president said that Lozancic had lost her trust and breached the Security and Intelligence System Act. However, the prime minister said in an interview on Wednesday that he had not seen any data or results that would corroborate that.
Lozancic resigned last week, clearing the way for the appointment of a new SOA chief. The parliamentary Committee on Domestic Policy and National Security on Wednesday endorsed the appointment of Daniel Markic to that post by a majority of votes.
"His resignation is welcome. However, I have been following his work much longer than Mr Oreskovic. Mr Lozancic knows very well that I cannot discuss some of the reasons because they concern national security, and he took advantage of that. But what I can say is that Mr Lozancic was a private, personal intelligence officer for Mr Milanovic, and I will stop here," Grabar-Kitarovic said in an interview with the HRT public broadcaster, which will be aired in its entirety in its evening news programme.
The Social Democratic Party (SDP) of former Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic would not comment on the president's statement before her interview was broadcast in its entirety, but said unofficially that what the president had stated was diametrically opposed to what Prime Minister Oreskovic said in his interview today.
The SDP noted that the Domestic Policy and National Committee had seen no evidence that Lozancic had violated the law. "If serious breaches of the law were indeed committed as claimed by the president, how is it possible that the prime minister and the relevant parliamentary committee have seen no evidence of that," the strongest opposition party said.