SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Croatia's Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Thursday it was time to leave the job after all challenging tasks of his mandate had been completed, such as Croatia joining the euro zone next year, and that he wanted to leave politics altogether.
Maric, 45, submitted his unexpected resignation late on Tuesday and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has proposed economy professor Marko Primorac as his successor.
"I don't see myself in politics anymore and think it's time to try some different waters," Maric told a news conference called to explain the reasons for his decision.
"All political and other targets that we had set as the government have been fulfilled," he said "I think this is the best moment for this decision because Croatia's political and economic status is better than ever." he added.
Maric also said that at the moment he did not have anything lined up with either local or international institutions or private companies.
The opposition said that Maric's resignation at the time of serious economic challenges caused by the war in Ukraine was irresponsible but Plenkovic said the government would ensure stability by finding him a quick replacement.
Maric said that Primorac, who is an expert in public finances, will have enough time to prepare, adjust and maintain the continuity of his ministry's work.
Both analysts and many fellow politicians said that Maric was among the most successful ministers, having worked to stabilise Croatia's debt and improve its credit rating, and steering the country firmly towards the euro zone membership.
Maric had worked in the finance ministry before he had taken up a job as an executive in Croatia's largest retailer Agrokor, only to join the Plenkovic's government in 2016.
(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)