President Decides to Dismiss Security Intelligence Agency Director

Total Croatia News

An intelligence agency shake up by the president.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović has decided to dismiss the director of the Security Intelligence Agency (SOA) Dragan Lozančić and the chief of the Office of the National Security Council (UVNS) Ivica Panenić. For the decisions to become final, they need to be signed by Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković as well, reports Vecernji List on February 6, 2016.

“President signed the decision on the dismissal of the Security Intelligence Agency director due to violations of the Law on Security and Intelligence System. The President told the director in person that he no longer had her confidence. The President also signed the decision on the dismissal of the chief of the Office of the National Security Council for failing to ensure the implementation of activities within the scope of the UVNS. The decisions on dismissals were sent to the Government”, reported the Office of the President.

Just a few minutes before the Office of the President sent the press release about the dismissals, Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković gave a statement to the press in which he said that he still needed to talk with the President about the dismissals. Talking specifically about the dismissal of Lozančić, Orešković said that he and the President would make a joint decision when the time is right.

Government sources later reported that Prime Minister Orešković will make a decision on the dismissals next week. The Government has confirmed that it had received the President’s official decision, which they found out about only after the Prime Minister’s press statement. They did not want to comment on the fact that the President’s request came while the Prime Minister was talking about it to the press. They only said that the President and Prime Minister have had discussions about the issue in recent days. Government sources also did not want to speculate whether the Prime Minister would support the decisions.

Gordan Maras (SDP), opposition MP and a minister in the previous government, described the situation as a humiliation for Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković. “What a humiliation for him. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović has signed the dismissal of SOA director, but he was obviously not informed about it because at the same time he was making a statement that they would make joint decision about it next week”, said Maras on Facebook. “At the same time, HDZ has prevented the appointment of the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security so they can appoint a new director without any input from the opposition”, wrote Maras.


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