PM Nicolae Ciucă resigned today, the government swap kicks off

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Liberal PM Nicolae Ciucă has submitted his resignation from the position of prime minister on Monday. The plan for leaving the Government was discussed at the level of the Coalition with President Klaus Iohannis.

The prime minister was waiting for an answer from the education trade unions on whether or not to end the strike, but decided to walk regardless of the teachers’ response to their latest wage offer.

So, the government switch between PNL and PSD is kicking off today, with PSD chairman Marcel Ciolacu being expected to be appointed prime minister.

The new Executive would be installed at the Victoria Palace by the end of this week. Until the inauguration of the new government, President Klaus Iohannis will appoint Cătălin Predoiu, the current Minister of Justice, as interim prime minister, according to Digi24.ro sources.

“Two weeks ago, the leaders of the Coalition came out in joint statements and we assumed that the rotary is not produced on May 25, but we continue our responsibility to close the labor conflict in Education. (…) Through today’s GEO we have done nothing more than to agree on all these measures asking the unions to understand the fact that measures are needed that are sustainable, that are not populist and that represent the responsible political decision, both in public interest, as well as in the interest of teachers. As such, considering that this conflict has been concluded, today has come the moment when I end my activity as Prime Minister of Romania”, said resigning PM Ciucă. “We will have an interim government, which will function until the new Government is inaugurated, which we hope will be inaugurated by the end of the week”, he added.

However, political negotiations are currently blocked. According to Digi24.ro, the protocol no longer exists, which is why PSD and PNL will share their ministries again. It is not clear if UDMR will remain in the government, after Marcel Ciolacu proposed to Kelemen Hunor to give up Development and Environment. UDMR will not be part of the government if it does not receive the Development. “I said that without the Ministry of Development we cannot continue, Mr. Ciolacu knows that,” Kelemen Hunor declared on Monday.

Nicolae Ciucă was supposed to submit his PM mandate at the end of May, according to the protocol of the Coalition, but the decision was postponed several times, in the last period, amid the tensions related to the extensive strike in education, which exceeded three weeks.

It is not known yet if Ciuca will still have a position in the future government, with sources claiming that he might become deputy PM, thus replacing Marcek Ciolacu, or to take the position of Senate Speaker from Alina Gorghiu.

So, the negotiation on a future Cabinet between PSD, PNL and UDMR are stuck, as they are not getting along on who’s taking over some ministries. While PSD has offered UDMR the Environment, the EU Funds and Energy portfolios and UDMR has turned down the offer, things are not settled either on Transports minister, a bone of discontent between Social Democrats and Liberals.

The Liberals definitely want a ministry that manages a large budget, because those from the PSD refuse to give them Transport, as it is written in the protocol of the Coalition, at the point about how the government rotation is carried out. The Ministry of Transport is an important stake in the perspective of next year’s elections, and the social democrats prefer to keep Sorin Grindeanu here.

Moreover, there were voices in the PNL who claimed that Ciucă should advocate for the removal of the UDMR from the government, in order to gain some electoral points, and even remove the PNL from the government, in order to “rest” in the Opposition before the elections of next year. Liberals also complained that the PSD has a clear advantage in terms of public communication and the impact of social discontent.

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