Bratislav Gasic, the former defence minister who was appointed as the new head of the Serbian Security and Information Agency (BIA), the main Serbian intelligence service, “is not qualified” for his new post, opposition MPs claim.
According to Marinka Tepic and Zoran Zivkovic from Nova Stranka (New Party), Gasic’s “only quality” is “unwavering loyalty to prime minister and president-elect Aleksandar Vucic”. Tepic and Zivkovic expressed their concern over Vucic’s decision to appoint Gasic, stressing the fact that both of them are the members of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS).
The MPs said that Serbian public knows Gasic only as a SNS official and a politician who was dismissed from the position of the defence minister over his sexist comments to a journalist. “I love female journalists who get down on their knees easily”, Gasic told to B92 reporter in 2015. He was sacked only after public pressure piled up.
“Except for his unlimited loyalty to Vucic, the citizens of Serbia know Gasic for his engagement in the series of suspicious privatizations, and a scandal that shocked us all”, Tepic and Zivkovic underlined. They alluded to the military helicopter crash in 2015 in which seven people, including a five-month-old baby died. MPs stress that Gasic was among those responsible for the accident.
When asked to comment on Gasic, prime minister and president-elect Aleksandar Vucic said: “Bratislav Gasic is very hardworking and committed person, faithful to his country”.
The opposition and independent institutions demanded Gasic’s sacking even before he made the disparaging comment about the female reporter. In September 2015, the Anti-Corruption Agency claimed that he was in a conflict of interest when he awarded contracts to companies linked to his family while he was mayor of the town of Krusevac. Gasic rebuffed these claims.
The same year, Sasa Jankovic, the ombudsman at the time, requested for the government to dismiss Gasic over the incidents during 2014 Gay Pride parade.
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