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Serbian PM sacks defence minister over sexist comments

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Arbeitsbesuch Serbien, VK Michael Spindelegger trifft den serbischen Vizepremier Aleksandar Vucic, Belgrad, 29.11.2012, FOTO: Dragan TATIC

Arbeitsbesuch Serbien, VK Michael Spindelegger trifft den serbischen Vizepremier Aleksandar Vucic, Belgrad, 29.11.2012, FOTO: Dragan TATIC

Serbia’s premier on Monday fired his defence minister after he made an “insulting” remark to a female journalist that sparked outrage from the opposition and gender equality groups.

The minister, Bratislav Gasic, caused public uproar by making a sexist aside to a women reporter from B92 private television who knelt down to avoid getting in shot while he was making a statement.

“I like these female journalists who kneel down so easily,” Gasic said.

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic fired Gasic, saying there was “no excuse” for his comment.

“We need to protect women in Serbia. This was an offence for all women in Serbia,” said Vucic, adding that the minister would be formally replaced in the coming days.

Media groups, opposition parties and gender equality organisations all leaped to condemn the remark.

“Such a statement is inadmissible and insulting not only for female journalists but for all women,” said Brankica Jankovic, commissioner for protection of equality.

Gasic issued a public apology later on Sunday, expressing “sincere regrets” for his “shameful and scandalous behaviour.”

Gasic, 48, was mayor of the central town of Krusevac before taking office as the defence minister in April 2014.

He is one of Vucic’s closest allies and vice-president of the ruling Serbian People’s Party (SNS).


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