zoran milanović.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Daniel KASAP / dk

Opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Zoran Milanovic said on Saturday that there was no reason to relieve Dragan Lozancic as director of the Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA) because it had not been proved that he had committed the alleged breaches of the law, stressing that the case was indicative of "chaos and lawlessness".

Milanovic was speaking to the press in the northern city of Varzadin while attending a celebration of the 25th anniversary of establishment of his party's Varazdin County branch.

The SOA chief's dismissal has been initiated by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who said that he had violated the law governing the national security and intelligence system. In order for her decision to take effect it needs to be co-signed by Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic.

Milanovic said that the entire situation surrounding Lozancic's dismissal was obviously not coordinated because the dismissal of the SOA director lies within the authority of the Prime Minister who is required to discuss it with the President.

"No procedure has been laid down for cases like this. All this is indicative of chaos and lawlessness in which Croatia does not have a coherent government or a person who makes decisions in the capacity of prime minister. I don't fear for Lozancic, he is a top person who will find a top job at any time. At the time of his appointment he said that he wanted to do this job for four years only. He probably deserves the highest national medal, and President Grabar-Kitarovic, several other people and I are aware of that," the former prime minister said.

Asked what he would do if he were the prime minister, Milanovic said that President Grabar-Kitarovic obviously regarded Prime Minister Oreskovic as "a weak entity". He said that her signature on the decision to dismiss Lozancic was worthless until it was signed by the Prime Minister. He said that it was an embarrassment for the country that the two of them had not reached an agreement before the decision was announced.

"It should have been proved that he violated the law and they did not even try it, which is a disgrace and shows contempt for the law. In my opinion, the present law is not good, but as long as it is in force it should be respected. Now it looks as if Lozancic were a criminal, and both the President and I know that he is a national hero. However, some people around her hate him and unfortunately she is influenced by bad company," Milanovic said.

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