PM: Minister to be sacked for making offensive remark

Defense Minister Bratislav Gasic, who on Sunday remarked he was fond of "(female) journalists who kneel easily" cannot remain in office, says Aleksadar Vucic.

Source: B92

Speaking on Monday, the prime minister said that he was "shocked and surprised" when he heard what happened, adding, "these things cannot, or should not happen to anyone."

Vucic described himself as always standing against "hunts and harangues" and that he in the past "placed himself as a shield, and did well each time, protecting them (ministers) from false attacks and accusations."

According to the prime minister, he was in this way "protecting Serbia and the state" - but this time he "cannot find either an excuse or a justification."

Vucic said it was good that Gasic apologized as this was "something new in our political life."

"But an apology is not enough. We must protect all women in Serbia, it was a bad message to all women, and when I took office as the prime minister, I said Serbia will be a modern, decent country. A country where women are not insulted, where there is no machismo and sexist insults," said Vucic.

The prime minister announced Gasic's dismissal will be worked out "in the technical sense" in the coming days, and said the statement he made on Sunday was the only reason for his sacking - but that it was "a big deal."

"Bata (Bratislav) Gasic is a friend of mine, in the end, a man who takes care of my life. He did his job better than I did when I served as defense minister, and ten times better than those who today criticize him. I spoke with him a number of times. We could have played the game of him resigning, but we will not. I think Bata will understand this," Vucic said, and added he did not know at this time who will become Serbia's new defense minister.

Gasic's statement made in conversation with reporters as he was visiting a defense industry factory in Trstenik has met with condemnation of officials and media associations, and from B92, whose reporter, crouching in order to give cameras an unobstructed view of the minister, was the target of his offensive remark.


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