New disagreements between coalition partners
A high government source announced that there would soon be dismissals in the Police Directorate and the Police Office for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime, along with a possible wider purge of police commanders. The same source stated that MOST, which has the Interior Ministry under its control, had been given a deadline by which the dismissals should take place, since it is believed that personnel changes are progressing too slowly, especially given the various charges about abuse of office in the police ranks which have been publicly discussed by HDZ, reports Večernji List on February 29, 2016.
However, MOST reportedly does not support the idea of urgent dismissals, but instead wants to do it step by step. As for the police director Vlado Dominić, his position is subject to a public competition and his successor cannot be named by a way of political decision. His dismissal requires a new public competition to be opened for the selection of new police director. The chief of Police Office for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime is named personally by the Interior Minister, that is Vlaho Orepić (MOST), but is seems that he is not in a hurry to dismiss the current chief Mario Bertina. Both Dominić and Bertina remain in their posts, which HDZ does not take too kindly. HDZ is reportedly not satisfied with the selection of MOST’s Orepić as the Interior Minister, and animosity has grown even stronger after the Police Academy, which is under the jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry, recently announced that it will restart the procedure to annul HDZ secretary general Milijan Brkić’s diploma due to alleged plagiarism.
After MOST publicly opposed HDZ’s demand for the urgent dismissal of Security Intelligence Agency director Dragan Lozančić, a new conflict is almost unavoidable since HDZ wants to dismiss Dominić and Bertina. However, a source from MOST claims that they will not give in to HDZ pressure and that there will be no political purges in police leadership. It is even possible that the police director Dominić will finish his term which ends in June 2017. It has also been reported that Interior Minister Vlaho Orepić is currently not considering the dismissal of Bertina and that he still needs to have a meeting with him.
Sources claim that MOST is quite angry with the pressure exerted by the HDZ leadership. They claim that Minister Orepić is even ready to leave the government if “someone tries to exert any kind of pressure on him”, and that the minister is ready to publicly reveal the names of those who are pressuring him.