Serbia's prime minister asks parliament to sack defense minister

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 30, 2016 7:36 AM

BELGRADE (Reuters) - The Serbian prime minister sent a letter to parliament on Saturday asking it to dismiss Defence Minister Bratislav Gasic over a sexist remark to a female reporter.

Gasic, who is also a senior official in Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic's Serbian Progressive Party, triggered public outrage and protests from journalists last December after remarking to a crouching female reporter: "I love these journalists who kneel so easily."

A government statement said Vucic presented a letter to lawmakers seeking Gasic's dismissal at an urgent session of parliament session next Friday.

"Prime Minister Vucic thanked Gasic for his very good results in terms of combat readiness of the military...and the development of the defense industry, but he believes that words he used could not and should be not used in public," it said.

Vucic also asked Finance Minister Dusan Vujovic to be acting Defence Minister until a new one was appointed.

Gasic's removal will have little effect on Serbia's ruling coalition, which faces snap elections this spring, in which the Progressive Party is seen as a front-runner.

(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Angus MacSwan; Editing by Angus MacSwan)