PM Florin Citu has dismissed Health minister Vlad Voiculescu on Wednesday, following talks with deputy PM, USR-PLUS leader Dan Barna, who becomes the interim minister of Health, the Romanian PM has just announced.
“Today, April 14, I forwarded President Klaus Iohannis the necessary documents to dismiss Mr. Vlad Voiculescu from the Health minister position. The seat will be taken as interim by Mr. Dan Barna, until a new minister of Health is appointed. I also decided to dismiss Mrs. Andreea Moldovan from the seat of secretary of state at the Health Ministry. The decisions will be published in the Official Gazette today”, PM Cîțu announced.
In a brief statement after that PM Citu argued that he had dismissed Vlad Voiculescu for ‘in the fight against the pandemic trust is needed in the state institutions.’ He added he strongly believes in this ruling coalition.
In his turn, PNL chairman Ludovic Orban said there is no other political solution than the current coalition and that he PM’s decision to sack Voiculescu has nothing to do with the firm political decision to maintain the ruling coalition.
Soon after the PM’s announcement, the Romanian Presidential Administration informed that President Klaus Iohannis has signed the dismissal decree.
Deputy PM Dan Barna: PM Citu loses the USR-PLUS support
In a press conference deputy PM Dan Barna has slammed the decision of PM Citu to sack Vlad Voiculescu without previously consulting with all the parties in the ruling coalition, especially with USR-PLUS Alliance that proposed and endorsed Voiculescu as Health minister.
“It is an one-sided decision, it raises big question marks on Florin Citu’s capacity to lead the coalition. He has just informed us about the dismissal decision”, Barna said.
“We wanted to take decisions together, it happened until today. The PM called me for a talk where he informed me by a decision already taken. We had agreed on Monday in the coalition to get out of this game of political ballet. It is a decision that throws the Coalition into a major crisis. From this moment, PM Citu no longer has the endorsement of the USR-PLUS Alliance”, Barna added, saying that a coalition session is to be held to see “how things will keep on functioning”.
Vlad Voiculescu’s dismissal comes after one week of tensions inside the ruling coalitions, of scandals (the sudden eviction of the patients of Foisor Hospital, which became a Covid support unit) and one tragic incident that claimed three lives at Victor Babes Hospital. However, the PM’s sacking decision came one day after the order signed by state secretary Andreea Moldovan on new requirements on quarantining a locality, which was released without the prime minister’s being informed about it.
Andreea Moldovan used to state for Digi24 that she had not personally discussed with the PM about this new order, but that the documents had been discussed and voted within the Scientific Technical Committee, an inter-ministry body where the resolutions of the National Committee for Emergency Situations are also decided.
USR-PLUS emergency meeting after the dismissal
The USR-PLUS leaders have convened in an emergency meeting at this hour after Vlad Voiculescu’s sudden dismissal, after they had repeatedly voiced endorsement for Voiculescu in the past days.
Sources within the mainstream media reported that USR-PLUS would like PM Citu’s withdrawn for deciding to sack Voiculescu without having first consulted with them.
USR deputy Ionut Mosteanu was first to react, arguing Vlad Voiculescu’s dismissal is not justified and represents “an act of aggression in the coalition from PM Florin Citu”.
Asked if USR considers leaving the govern, Moisteanu said that this version is supported by some of his colleagues.
In his turn, USR deputy Iulian Bulai thanked Voiculescu for his job so far, underlining in a Facebook post that “Mafia in the healthcare system should not enjoy too early.”
“All those sabotaging the reforms in the health system will pay, sooner or later. All those who are endorsing the mafia will eventually be held responsible for this decision. The fight goes on!,” Bulai posted.
Favorite to take over the Health portfolio is USR senator Adrian Wiener, a doctor himself, but, according to the previous negotiation within the Alliance, the position belongs to PLUS.
Dan Barna also had a discussion this morning with the other co-chairman of the USR-PLUS, Dacian Ciolos.
Ciolos has reacted in a Facebook post, saying he cannot take a public stance for the moment , as he “is in medical recovery”, but noted that “the way PM Florin Citu acted, by dismissing Vlad Voiculescu without consulting with the USR-PLUS Alliance leadership first, is absolutely unacceptable“. Ciolos said a decision will be taken within the ongoing meeting of the USR-PLUS Alliance and that PLUS executive chairman Dragos Tudorache will voice their public stance soon.
The other deputy PM in the Cabinet, representing UDMR, Kelemen Hunor, said that the ruling coalition must go on, for it had assumed the responsibility for the entire country. He opined that dismissing a minister is the PM’s constitutional attribute, “it’s his decision, which is not commented , but just it is announced and enforced.”
“I don’t see reasons for another governing formula, the coalition has not been established for one person, for a single party. The Government has a coalition agreement, ruling programme and it has assumed big, important goals for the country. So, we are waiting for the nomination of a new minister for the Health portfolio”, Kelemen said.
Rumours on how the dismissal decision has been taken
Sources quoted by Hotnews.ro revealed that PM Citu had already taken the decision to sack Vlad Voiculescu before even meeting deputy PM Dan Barna this morning and that his decision would have had the previous consent of President Iohannis.