Health Minister Kujundzic Dismissed, Who Will Replace Him?

Lauren Simmonds

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has dismissed Health Minister Kujundzic (HDZ) after numerous scandalous stories about him broke loose in the media, which detailed everything from incorrectly declared houses to properties that hadn’t been declared at all and alleged dodgy dealings.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 28th of January, 2020, Milan Kujundzic has been dismissed from his position as minister of health and this news was confirmed by a Croatian Government spokesman. Andrej Plenkovic is expected to make a statement after the 2020 Green New Deal for Croatia conference.

“The position of minister isn’t worth the burden, the simplest thing to do would’ve been to just resign, but morality doesn’t allow for that because certain interest groups would be affected. I’m making the mandate available because to resign would have been the easiest thing. I asked the Prime Minister to give me time to present all the facts. I asked the Prime Minister to decide on my dismissal, but to do so based on the facts,” former Health Minister Kujundzic stated at yesterday’s press conference, to which he also brought his lawyer.

With Health Minister Kujundzic now a face of Croatia’s already rather colourful political history books, who could take over his position?

Just who might take over Kujundzic’s position has been the topic of speculation for some time now, and although several names have been and still are being mentioned on the sidelines, there are currently three candidates who most likely, according to a report from Jutarnji list.

Prim. Zeljko Plazonic

Plazonic is a specialist in internal medicine, a cardiology subspecialist who spent most of his career at KBC Rijeka. He has been State Secretary at the Ministry of Health since back in 2016, and he recently became President of the Board of Directors of KBC Rijeka. Plazonic confirmed for Jutarnji list that he would accept the minister’s position should he be asked to do so, but added that no one had contacted him yet. He believes that the minister must be well acquainted with the work of the ministry because there’s still half a year of this mandate left. He also stated that he disagreed with the minister in many matters when it came to running the ministry, and that he rejected projects he considered worthy.

Prof. Dr. Vili Beros

An assistant to former Health Minister Kujundzic and a neurosurgeon in Zagreb. His name has been mentioned ever since MOST twice sought the Milan Kujundzic’s dismissal in the past. Last night, he openly admitted on HRT’s show that he would accept Plenkovic’s offer for him to become Croatia’s health minister. However, he also says he has not yet received such an offer from the prime minister. “What is certain is that I think the Prime Minister will, as he’s always done, make a decision that is for the benefit of our healthcare system and for our patients,” he said.

Doc. Dr. Dario Nakic

The former Minister of Health from Tihomir Oreskovic’s government, who held that position for only ten months. He is a doctor in Zadar hospital, where he was a longtime director. He told Jutarnji list yesterday that no one had called him to take over the ministry, that had not yet been dismissed and that he could not speak on the subject. He did not deny such a possibility, but said that he could only talk about it if someone offered him the position.

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