Update: Presidential decree extending the mandate of the Army’s Chief of Staff, challenged in court by Gov’t. Scandal stirs NATO’s concern, military analyst says

The Government has challenged in court the decree by which the head of state has extended the mandate of the Army’s Chief of Staff Nicolae Ciuca (photo). The action in administrative litigation has the effect of suspending the application of this document. It is still an episode in the war involving the Victoria and Cotroceni palaces, digi24.ro informs.

President Klaus Iohannis signed the decree extending the mandate of General Nicolae Ciuca as the Chief of Staff on December 27, after he denied during the CSAT meeting the proposal of the Defence Minister to replace Ciuca. Defence Minister Gabriel Les had proposed Dumitru Scarlat to take over the helm of the chief Armed Forces General Staff.

“General Ciuca’s mandate as chief of staff ends on December 31. Romania cannot remain without head of the army. This situation generated by the PSD’s incompetence must be solved. And we solved it after the CSAT sitting. I have taken the decision and signed the decree that is extending the mandate of General Ciuca, who is a competent soldier, who has great results. It would have been better for this situation to be solved sooner, but I think the Romanian Army must know who is leading it and how is leading it,” the head of state argued.

PM Viorica Dăncilă replied that the decree signed by President Iohannis to extend the mandate if the incumbent chief of staff Nicolae Ciuca does not observe the law and creates the premises of another constitutional legal conflict.

“According to the law 346/2006 on the organization of the Defence Ministry, the President hasn’t the competence to extend the mandate of the chief of staff. Both appointment and extension of the mandate is made only upon the Defense Minister’s proposal, with the premier’s consent. Therefore, the decree announced today by the President is not observing the legal requirements and is creating the premises of a constitutional legal conflict,” Dancila said.

Scandal stirs NATO’s concern, military analyst says

The scandal in Romania regarding the appointment of the chief of staff is regarded by NATO with concern and anxiety, military analyst Ion Petrescu has told Digi 24 TV private broadcaster on Tuesday.

“It is the fight for power, there is a precedent when in 2000 the current majority party took over the power and appointed the defence minister, he wanted at all costs to appoint the chief of staff. A bright mind at Cotroceni proposed the President who was to conclude his term to appoint the General who was about to be proposed by that party. The development is relevant as the chief of staff should not be blackmailed by any political force. The appointment should be based only on undeniable military merit,” Petrescu said.

He says President Klaus Iohannis had the option to offer a position to General Ciuca at Cotroceni Palace, who would have been the second General promoted from the position of chief of staff as presidential adviser on security issues, the first one being General Constantin Degeratu.

“It is about incompetence. The ruling party and the opposition parties are playing with an issue that has stirred concern and question marks. It is about the image of the Romanian Army. Romania has joined NATO due to the Romanian Army. Also because General Ciuca was in command of the first battalion sent to Afghanistan, upon the NATO request,” the military analyst said. Petrescu has stressed the echoes of the scandal have reached Brussels and are seen with concern and anxiety.


Chief of Staffconcerncsat sittingdefence minister Gabriel lesDumitru Scarlatgeneral Nicolae Ciucagovernmention petrescunatopm viorica dancilapresident klaus iohannisRomanian Army
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