Stjepan Mesić.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR/ ds

Stjepan Mesic, who served two five-year terms as President of Croatia, said on Thursday that he would formally request the Constitutional Court's opinion on amendments to the law governing the rights of former presidents, as a result of which he had been stripped of his entitlement to office space.

Mesic told a press conference in his office that he would request a delay in the application of the amended law until the court decided whether it was in line with the constitution or not.

"This country is governed by law, I fought for it and its institutions. I have brought many people to high positions in government and I expect them to abide by the rules of law. I am bringing a constitutional action because the amendments are unconstitutional," Mesic said, adding that he would remain active in politics.

Following a proposal by the Bridge party, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, the Croatian parliament on Wednesday voted in amendments under which as of June 1 Mesic would no longer be entitled to office space, a vehicle and a chauffeur, but only to a bodyguard.

Mesic said he would file his application with the Constitutional Court as soon as the amended law was published in the Official Gazette, most probably already on Friday. He added that in case the Constitutional Court did not rule in his favour, he would take his case to the European Court of Human Rights. He expects his office to remain open until then.

Mesic said he had been contacted by various non-governmental organisations, foundations and political parties, including the Reformist Party, offering him their office space.

Commenting on his visit to Syria "at the invitation of the Syrian side", he said that it would be good if Croatia repossessed an oil well previously operated by INA, located near Palmyra. "However, since the government and parliament have no confidence in me, I hope that (Deputy Speaker of Parliament) Ivan Tepes and (Deputy Prime Minister) Bozo Petrov will go there and use their authority with the Syrian authorities."

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