ZAGREB, March 10, 2019 – Commenting on the responsibility of Minister Gabrijela Žalac who, without a valid driver’s licence was involved in a car accident on Saturday in Vinkovci, the Office of the President said on Sunday this was an issue of moral and ethical responsibility of a state official and a citizen of Croatia.
“For the president, this is an issue of moral and ethical responsibility of a state official and a citizen of Croatia,” the Office of the President said on Sunday.
In that traffic accident which happened in the eastern town of Vinkovci on Saturday morning, a 10-year-old child, who was running across the street outside a marked crosswalk, was injured when she was hit by the car which was driven by Minister Žalac.
Upon the accident the 10-year-old child was taken to the local hospital where she was diagnosed with a lower leg fracture, and the hospital’s spokeswoman stated that the child was not in a life-threatening condition. Later the child was transferred to the Osijek hospital for the treatment of her injury and doctors said they did not expect any complication or serious consequence of the injury.
The government issued a press release on Saturday saying that Žalac has not tendered her resignation, nor has the government discussed that option considering the fact that the traffic accident involving the minister could have happen to anyone.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković telephoned the minister when he was informed about the accident, according to the government’s press release which underscores the fact that the minister was driving her private car on her expired licence.
She also immediately paid a fine for that offence which is actually irrelevant for the accident itself.
Furthermore, the minister helped the injured child upon the accident and is in contact with her family, the government’s press release reads.
Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Žalac wrote on her Facebook wall on Saturday evening that she truly regretted the accident and apologised to the public for not renewing her driver’s licence on time.
Since the accident, the public has been debating whether or not the minister needs to resign.
The president of the Social Democratic Party, Davor Bernardić, said on Sunday that a traffic accident could happen to anyone, but that the case of minister Gabrijela Žalac involved driving without a valid driver’s licence and disrespect for the laws of the Republic of Croatia.
An accident can happen to anyone, this is simply a case of unfortunate circumstances. However, driving without a valid licence is disrespect for the laws of the Republic of Croatia, Bernardić said, adding that the minister’s resignation would have been a moral act but that “moral and this government simply do not go in the same sentence together.”
The president of the GLAS party, Anka Mrak Taritaš, said that Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Žalac broke the law and that the least she should have done was stand before the public and take responsibility for her actions, adding however, that this cannot be expected from the government of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.
“A minister needs to work transparently and if they make an omission, they need to admit it. The Minister should have absolutely resigned,” Mrak Taritaš said.
More news about the accident can be found in the Politics section.