Opposition DS party expels former top official

Former deputy leader of the now opposition Democrats (DS) and MP Dušan Petrović has been expelled from the party.

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug
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Petrović, who served as minister of agriculture in the previous government, was called on by the party's new leadership to "return" his MP mandate along with all former cabinet members, but he refused to resign from parliament.

Another former DS minister who failed to comply, Vuk Jeremić, has been given a week to make his decision, B92 learned on Thursday evening.

Jeremić was today "given a decision on the launching of procedures and has seven days to respond", Tanjug was told by DS sources.

Petrović on Thursday addressed the party's Executive Board to "present his defense", and told the body that a decision to expel him would "go against the law".

He told reporters earlier that the decision would be tantamount to "revenge", and accused DS leader Dragan Đilas of moving against those who hold different views within the party.

According to Petrović, Đilas "coerced" first the main, and today the executive board of the DS to take part in this.

The former minister asserted that the mission of the Democrats was "to lead Serbia to the western civilization", but that they would be unable to accomplish this goal "if the law and rules are being broken".

Petrović also said that he would lodge an appeal against the decision. He told reporters that he did not intend to form his own MP group in parliament or establish a new party, but that he would "fight for what he believes".

Petrović explained that he did not meet with Đilas "in the past couple of days", and that he was instead notified that disciplinary procedures were being launched against him, to later learn that he had "violated the decision".

"How could I violate something that does not exist and that I've never seen," wondered Petrović.

Earlier in the day, Jeremić held a meeting with Đilas, saying afterwards that the content of their discussion was an internal issue for the party, and that it would be "inappropriate" to share it with the public.

Expelled members of the party can file their appeals to the DS Statutory Commission.

The Democrats lost both the presidential and parliamentary elections held last spring, and the party's new leadership, elected in the fall, decided that former cabinet ministers should no longer serve in the new parliament.

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