Update: Upon arriving at the PSD Executive Committee, PM Tudose said: “Anytime the party asks me, I resign”, amid mounting criticism inside PSD and ALDE over his reshuffle proposals.
Rovana Plumb, minister of European Funds, on the premier’s reshuffle list, said before the meeting that the party had given her this position and that she would voice her stance at the meeting.
The Social Democrat Party’s ruling partner, ALDE, won’t agree a potential resignation of his minister, Viorel Ilie (minister for Parliament Liaison) within the government reshuffle envisaged by PM Tudose.
Tudose would aim at sacking four ministers: deputy PM Sevil Shhaideh, minister for European Funds, Rovana Plumb, minister for the Parliament Liaison Viorel Ilie and Transports minister Razvan Cuc. The first three are prosecuted in criminal cases, while the premier is discontent with the latter’s activity.
Referring to Shhaideh and Plumb a day ago, the premier argued said that there is “a perception” problem in Brussels and the two ministers are directly connected through their ministries’ activity to Brussels. “The reality is there is the benefit of doubt, there have been many cases when those charged or in various stages of the criminal trial proved to be innocent, yet with their lives ruined or anyway totally changed, but we also have a perception and the perception in Brussels is completely different from the reality here. So the problem comes up as the two colleagues are in charge with the relation with Brussels. So, I told you a personal opinion and also a position as head of the Government,” the premier pointed out.
ALDE chairman Calin Popescu Tariceanu (photo) has stated on Thursday before the Social Democrats’ meeting that he cannot agree Viorel Ilie’s potential resignation, as he had already received ALDE’s political endorsement and the Senate has vetoed the anti-corruption prosecutors’ request to criminally prosecute him.
“We cannot agree a proposal regarding Viorel Ilie’s resignation for we have given him our political support,” Tariceanu stated. He hailed PM Tudose’s argument to sack some ministers on performance grounds, but challenged the one regarding the ministers’ legal problems.
“We have found so many information and evidence related to abuses of Mrs. Kovesi’s colleagues that we wonder what the respect for law of this institution is (…) DNA has lost its credibility. We cannot accept that DNA makes Romania’s Government as it pleases,” Tariceanu added.
He also referred to the premier’s claim on the European officials’ fears in Brussels regarding the ministers who manage the portfolios linked to the European funds, saying it’s not the case of Viorel Ilie.
“I think the premier should consider the presented arguments as well. The reasons for which he wants the two female ministers out of the Government are not enforceable in Viorel Ilie’s case,” he argued.
ALDE chair also reproached to PM Tudose that he has heard about the reshuffle from the public space and not from the coalition.
Asked by the journalists if ALDE is ready to leave ruling in case his demands are not met, Tariceanu avoided a straight answer, yet claiming ALDE respects the protocol signed at the beginning of the ruling.
Bucharest mayor, first to voice discontent over PM Tudose’s reshuffle intentions
Bucharest mayoress Firea, also PSD vice-president ha stated before the PSD meeting that PM Tudose hadn’t had “an honest approach” when announcing his plans on TV. She opined that all these “frustrations” must be first announced in the party’s leadership bodies. Yet, Firea hasn’t commented the possibility that the prime-minister should resign.
“We are at a critical point, I don’t think it’s fair and an honest approach that one of our colleagues should voice his intentions on TV. I would like that all this discontent, all these frustrations would be first announced in the party’s leadership bodies and not in the public space for all they do is to bring grist to our party’s mill, to disable the party (…) How can we manage the ruling programme if we pay more attention to opinion polls and other derisory aspects,” Firea stated.
Asked if the reshuffle is the premier’s right, she said that the party’s opinion is very important in the case of the appointed positions.
Strange report on Tudose Gov’t backlogs pops up
Several hours before the Social Democrats convened for the party’s Executive Committee to decide on PM Tudose’s reshuffle proposals, a report with unidentified authors was delivered to the media that supports PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea. The report points to the Tudose Cabinet’s non-performance after three months and a half in office.
The 18-page report dated October 12 reviews the current government’s backlogs (45 unfulfilled measures) and only seven achieved actions. The incumbent premier is charged with not carrying out some measures that the ruling coalition had already dropped, such as the turnover tax or the solidarity tax, but also with failing to implement measures whose completion deadline is January 1, 2018, such as the reduction of the income tax from 16% to 10%, non taxation of doctors’ income, the cut of the tax on farm equipment, the cut of the dividends tax, re-introducing the tax on the gross profit of physical persons, etc.
Tudose Government is also held accountable for not reorganizing ANAF, for not depoliticizing the public management, for not correcting the gaps in the public pension system or for not dealing the payment of the social contribution only to the employee.
The last page of the document contains seven actions that the Cabinet has fulfilled, among which there are the rise of the pension point as of July 1, 2017, introduction of the split VAT or the enforcement of the Rabla programme intended for electric vehicles’ acquisition.