Interior Minister Carmen Dan hasn’t resigned from office, as PM Tudose has hinted, announcing in a a press conference late on Thursday that ministers can only be withdrawn by the statutory forums of the ruling coalition.
“The Government is a political one, and ministers are nominated and validated in the statutory forums of the coalition parties, and it is also there where their withdrawal from the Government is approved,” Carmen Dan said.
PM Mihai Tudose told Antena 3 private broadcaster on Wednesday evening that he will accept the Interior minister’s resignation if she files it, arguing he cannot work with a minister who has lied about the situation regarding the Romanian Police chief’s second in the scandal of the pedophile policeman Eugen Stan.
“The Police chief has been replaced. I had a proposal. I heard that gentleman doesn’t want the job, I could not dismiss somebody and let the Police without a head. My discontent against the Interior minister is the following. I asked her if it’s true that he refuses to take the position and she said no. I called quaestor Catalin Ionita (the one proposed to take over the Police’s helm) to hear directly from him. The dialogue was:< I am the premier, do you want this position?> and he answered me:<I gave Mrs. Minister a report saying I refuse, and I have been waiting in the antechamber ever since, she told me to wait>. If a minister dares lying to me, I don’t have any reason to work with her. She has expressed this intention since Monday and I told her I accept her resignation of she files it. If she is allowed, she will,” Tudose said on Wednesday.
In retort, Carmen Dan said that she had the initial accept of Catalin Ionita to take over the Police helm, but he has subsequently filed a report to deny the appointment.
“I have here the proof that Catalin Ionita has initially accepted the position of Romanian Police chief, if the premier had decided to accept the resignation of Bogdan Despescu,” Dan said, adding that right after she announced the replacement of the Police chief from office, starting Tuesday night, a campaign to denigrate Catalin Ionita’s family and his professional activity has kicked off in the public space and that’s why he turned down the proposal to replace Despescu.
“At the beginning of the Government sitting, the premier has publicly announced that he would not replace Despescu (…) I had no discussion with the prime minister regarding Ionita on Wednesday. How would quaestor Ionita have been able to take a job that was not available anymore?,” the Interior minister added.
Carmen Dan also announced she had sent the Control Body to the Romanian Police Inspectorate after the case of the police officer accused of pedophilia, arguing the incumbent police chief knew about the child molester, arguing the report of a previous case, the one in 2016 when Eugen Stan had sexually aggressed a woman, was mentioning that he was working as an agent at the Bucharest Traffic Police.
Right after the minister’s conference, PM Tudose took a stand commenting on Facebook that when he had announced he wouldn’t dismiss Despescu, Ionita’s refusal to hold the police head position had made TV headlines.
“Mrs. Carmen Dan admits that at 6:27 she was called by quaestor Ionita, who announced her that he would like to meet her. That morning, he told her he doesn’t want to be the chief of the Romanian Police. The Government sitting took place at 13:00. It was then when I announced that I appoint quaestor Ionita, that I don’t dismiss quaestor Despescu for now and that I wait for a report from him. At that hour, all TV channels were saying that quaestor Ionita doesn’t want to be the new chief of the Police. How can anyone say that my announcement at 13:30 would have made quaestor Ionita change his mind? You draw the conclusions,” PM Tudose posted on Facebook.
As for the PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea, allegedly in conflict with PM Tudose, said on Friday during a visit in Bacau that he hopes Mihai Tudose stays in office. “I still hope Mihai Tudose will remain premier,” Dragnea said when asked if it’s possible the party might withdraw Tudose’s support.
Police agents’ trade union calls on PM to stop political games and take a decision
The National Trade Union of the Police Agents called on PM Tudose on Friday to put political games to an end, arguing these games are “in plain sight, on the account of an unprecedented crisis that the policeman profession is facing”.
“The Romanian Police is at nobody’s beck and call. If the politicians are not capable, let honest and competent policemen choose their own chiefs. We want a decision as soon as possible, to have a leadership to re-build the Romania Police’s authority. We cannot wait anymore,” says the trade union’s press release.