Vote on Ungureanu’s nomination for SIE splits ruling coalition, prompts new criticism against president Iohannis

PM Victor Ponta attacked president Klaus Iohannis once again on Sunday night on Mihai Razvan Ungureanu’s nomination as director of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE). The joint chambers of Parliament are scheduled to vote on Ungureanu’s nomination on Monday.

Complaining about the fact that PSD ruling party hasn’t been consulted on this nomination, Ponta said that President Iohannis is acting as if all “are some serves” who must obey his orders. Asked during his intervention at B1TV to name three reasons for which PSD is not accepting Ungureanu’s nomination as SIE head, the prime minister answered: “First of all, Mr Iohannis’ lack of respect and his contempt for all the important things. I heard about the nomination from the media (…) I told last year and I regret I am actually right: Mr. Iohannis considers all of us some serves working on his domain, who must obey some orders, but PSD is not filling his orders, especially when they are wrong (…) Mr. Iohannis thinks that, Romanians in general and we must grant his wishes, but we won’t. So be it, he gets upset, he is making a file against us, I don’t know, but we won’t grant his wishes.” Ponta also argued that he had previously stated that the power should not belong to a single party, considering that the director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) was also nominated from the National Liberal Party and that Ungureanu’s activity was criticized including by Liberals in 2012, when his Cabinet hadn’t survive the no confidence vote in Parliament.

However, tomorrow’s vote is expected to be a tense one, as it has to face precisely the disagreements within the ruling coalition. It all started from the endorsement that interim premier Gabriel Oprea (whose party, the National Party for Romania’s Progress-UNPR is PSD’s ruling partner) promised to give to Ungureanu’s nomination, despite the resistance voiced by the Social Democrat Party, whose representatives have constantly slammed president Iohannis’ move and threatened they would veto Ungureanu’s appointment in the plenum session. During the B1TV show, PM Ponta and his second Gabriel Oprea expressed the same different opinions on this topic, with the premier saying PSD will vote against or boycott the vote and Oprea reiterating he will vote in favor Ungureanu. On the other hand, both of them assured their governmental collaboration stays on.

Yet, Oprea’s opposing the Social Democrats’ stance has shaken a little bit the solidity of the ruling coalition, as Liviu Dragnea, political coordinator of PSD and Ponta’s right-hand man warned that a potential positive vote for Ungureanu would prompt a reassessment of PSD-UNPR political partnership. During Sunday’s TV intervention, both Ponta and Oprea avoided to comment on Dragnea’s warning. Ponta said that “we’ll see what will happen”, while Oprea mentioned he would only talk to Ponta on this topic.

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