President Klaus Iohannis has signed the decree extending the mandate of general Nicolae Ciuca as the Chief of Staff after he had denied during the CSAT meeting the proposal of the Defense minister to replace Ciuca. Defense 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 meeting. I have taken the decision ans signed the decree that is extending the mandate of general Ciuca, who is a competent soldier, who has wonderful 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.
President Iohannis has slammed the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) again.
“The CSAT meeting had only one point on the agenda, upon the request of the Defense minister who aimed at various changes in the Army’s leadership. His proposal is not observing the law. Therefore, CSAT has not Okayed the Defense minister’s request. It is an unpleasant situation that proves once again that PSD is not able to manage the big issues of the country,” Iohannis said.
Minister Les’ proposal for the chief of staff position was lieutenant general Dumitru Scarlat, Romania’s military representative to NATO and EU.
This proposal, as well as two more subsequent proposals (including Ovidiu-Liviu Uifăleanu, the incumbent head of ground forces) , have been rejected by Iohannis.
PM Dancila to file another complaint against the President
PM Viorica Dăncilă has 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 Defense Ministry, the President hasn’t the power 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.
In retort, Defense minister Gabriel Les has stated that he would come up with a new proposal for the chief of staff in January, adding that President Iohannis could extend Nicolae Ciuca’s mandate only upon the minister’s proposal.
“The president had no arguments, just saying my proposals are not legal, without mentioning why they are not legal,” minister Les told Antena 3 private broadcaster.
The Defense minister also confirmed that his proposal for the chief of staff position had been Dumitru Scarlat.
However, Scarlat needed to be chief of staff of one of the armed forces, so the minister has proposed he is assigned the position of chief of ground forces, currently held by Dumitru Uifălean, who was to take over Scarlat’s position as Romania’s military representative to NATO and EU.
“He told me (the president) that he won’t accept that I am relocating people from here to there”, Les claimed.
On the other hand, the minister argued that the head of state could not sign the decree extending the mandate of general Ciuca without the consent of the prime minister and without the proposal of Defense minister in this respect.
President still refuses to accept reshuffle
At the same time, PM Dancila announced that president Klaus Iohannis has announced her he would not accept the two proposals for new ministers at Development and Transports, even if the Constitutional Court had ruled that there is a legal conflict and that decrees to appoint the new proposed ministers must be issued.
“The President has confirmed one more time today that he cannot exert his constitutional power as mediator. Every stance has strong political accents, his only concern is to attack PSD. I asked him to have a talk on the appointment of the new ministers of Development and Transports. CCR has ruled we must have a decision. The President told me he would follow up the two proposals, without any explanation, proving that all he wants is to block the Government,” said the premier, who had separate talks with the head of state at Cotroceni Palace