Deputy Prime Minister Bozo Petrov said on Tuesday he did not feel any pressure because of First Deputy PM Tomislav Karamarko's statement that he was disappointed that Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA) chief Dragan Lozancic had not been replaced yet and that PM Tihomir Oreskovic was "running out of time" to replace Lozancic.
Speaking at his first press conference in the government, Petrov said he did not intend to exert pressure or communicate through the media. "If I have a problem, I'll speak directly to Karamarko."
Asked if his Bridge party supported Lozancic's replacement, he said only Oreskovic had the information necessary for such a decision and that this was why Bridge abstained from a recent parliamentary vote on a report on SOA's performance. He added that only the PM and President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic would decide on Lozancic's successor if he was replaced.
Commenting on Karamarko's displeasure with lack of personnel changes in the Interior Ministry, Petrov said there was no conflict in the government and that everyone was entitled to their opinion. He said the changes would would be strategic and planned, "whether in 15 days, a month, six months... It will happen when we assess the time is right." He added that Bridge did not endorse revenge-seeking but expertise and performance.
Members of the press reminded him that he had vowed swift reforms, yet eight weeks had been spent on appointments. Petrov said everything took more time because the new government was doing things differently than the previous one. "Perhaps all of this looks slow, but we are trying to find the best and most competent people. I hope this story will be over this week and that we will be able to dedicate ourselves to other matters."
Petrov said that other processes were under way alongside appointments, recalling that last week the government defined a reform package for the public administration.