Serbian PM speaks after reportedly offering her resignation

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Wednesday that her government had "many much more important topics" than the issue of "a gay picture book."

Source: Tanjug
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

Last week, Nenad Popovic, a member of her cabinet, took to Twitter to publicly denounce the decision to import a picture book for preschool children from Croatia that features "a boy who has two moms" and "a girl who has two dads." Brnabic, who is openly lesbian, reacted at the time by saying that Popovic should focus on his duties as a minister.

According to media reports, a confrontation between the two, joined by other ministers, took place during an ensuing government session.

Asked by reporters this Wednesday whether she and Popovic had put the clash behind them, Brnabic replied:

"I put an end to that thing, Serbia has no time to deal with it and we need to work in the interest of the citizens of Serbia, above all, to deal with issues of national importance in these difficult moments, and we have at least three topics of such significance on the table before us."

The prime minister also said that her reaction - when she said the government session discussion was "one of her most difficult days since joining the government" - did not concern "the gay picture book, nor (Popovic's) tweet, nor anything else" - but had to do with "us needing to deal with issues that are important to citizens instead of opening up new ones."

"On Friday," Brnabic continued, "I will tour the works on the irrigation system Tisa-Palic, (next) Wednesday I will be at the agriculture fair in Novi Sad that will feature an IMT (tractor manufacturer) stand after many years."

"After this I will travel to Sofia for the summit (apparently a reference to the EU-Balkans summit), then on May 21 I will meet with the president of the board of the TAFE Group to see how plans are advancing, and I hope that by the end of the year the production of our tractors will commence," said Brnabic.

Then, she continued, there's the important political issues, such as "regional stability and the support the government should provide to President Aleksandar Vucic for the normalization of the question of our southern province (Kosovo) and other issues."

"The only thing that matters is what's ahead of us and (for us) to solve it efficiently in the interest of the citizens of Serbia," Brnabic stressed.

In its report, Tanjug noted that the issue of the imports of Croatian picture books entitled, "My rainbow family," had led to strongly worded exchanges between Brnabic and Popovic.

According to media reports, cited by the agency, their clash was then used by two other members of the cabinet - Zorana Mihajlovic and Jadranka Joksimovic - "to move directly against Brnabic" during the government session last week.

The reports said that as Brnabic and Popovic engaged in an "open verbal clash" - Mihajlovic and Joksimovic stepped in by "openly defending Popovic."

All this reportedly led to Brnabic offering her resignation to President Aleksandar Vucic - which he "rejected by saying it was out of the question."


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