President Iohannis names DefMin Mihai Fifor as interim PM, starts consultations with the parliamentary parties for new gov’t. Who’s the PSD’s proposal?

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President Klaus Iohannis has announced in a press conference on Tuesday that he names Defence Minister Mihai Fifor as the interim Prime Minister following Mihai Tudose’s resignation from the helm of the Government.

In a brief press conference held at Cotroceni Palace at 12.30hr, Iohannis underlined that he wants a rapid procedure to have a new government as soon as possible, in order to avoid potential negative economic effects, and therefore he announced he would invite the parliamentary parties for consultations at Cotroceni Palace on Wednesday for the establishment of a new Cabinet.

Yet, President Iohannis made a clear stance in saying he is deeply discontent with the current political situation, stressing that we had two failed PSD governments one year since the elections.

PM Tudose has filed his resignation and I accepted. I am deeply discontent and concerned with this situation. One year after the elections, we already have two failed PSD governments. Now it’s obvious a government is needed to shorten this uncertainty as much as possible. I want to have a quick procedure which should lead to setting up a new government,” Iohannis stated.

This political uncertainty and instability must not degenerate. I want to prevent potential negative economic effects of this political crisis which is again generated inside PSD. After PM Tudose’s resignation, I designated Mihai Fifor as interim premier,” the head of state further said.

Therefore, the President announced political consultations would follow, no later than tomorrow.

For a quick procedure, I am calling consultations with the parliamentary parties tomorrow. I will send the invitations now“, he concluded.

The head of state will receive the delegation of the PSD-ALDE coalition at 12:00hr, the PNL at 13:00, the USR at 14:00, the PMP at 14:30, UDMR at 15:00 and the national minorities group at 15:30.

The name of Mihai Fifor has been actually rumored for the PM position today before President Iohannis’ conference, as being nominated for the PM seat by the Social Democrat Party. PSD would have considered also deputy PM Paul Stanescu to replace Tudose, but sources revealed that President Iohannis is against him.

PSD decides the candidate

The situation is troubling inside the ruling Social Democrat Party, which was in the position of immediately designating a person to replace Tudose at the helm of the Government. The new Executive Committee of PSD on Tuesday has voted MEP Viorica Dancila as a candidate for the PM seat by a comfortable majority, after Ecaterina Andronescu-another option at issue-had denied the proposal in the first place. Another proposal was the Agriculture minister, Petre Daea. In the end, the SocDem leaders have almost unanimously voted Viorica Dancila, with only one abstention.viorica dancila

However, some voices within the party were reluctant to Dancila, as she is seen as very close to the chairman Liviu Dragnea, because she is coming from Teleorman county, Dragnea’s fief.

54-year-old Viorica Dancila, former head of the Teleorman County Council in the past, curently a MEP and the leader of the PSD women organization, has distinguished herself lately through the criticism against Mihai Tudose. She has been a Social Democrat member since 1996. Viorica Dancila was a teacher at the High School in Videle during 1989-2009 and after that, engineer at  OMV Petrom.

Although resigning premier Mihai Tudose is PSD vice-president and has the right to vote, he hasn’t been seen attending the Executive commitee.

The members of the PSD leadership argued after the CExN that Dancila is a very good option, as she has political expertize and as a MEP.

She is recommended by the positions she had, she has proved her leaderships abilities, she is very close to the party, she will have the capacity to manage the Government’s activity. I have 100% guarantees that it will not happen like in the case of the other premiers,” said the PSD vice-president Lia Olguta Vasilescu, adding that Dancila has voiced will to enforce the measures of the ruling programme, including the justice law amendments.

PSD chair Dragnea: Dancila is civilized, non-conflicting person, she’s never gone back on our initiatives

After the CExN meeting, Liviu Dragnea, the PSD Chairman, has held a press conference, officially announcing that Viorica Dancila is the party’s nomination for the PM position. He said that he and his party fellows had addressed a lot of questions to Dancila, most of them being related to “the problems that have generated this situation in the first place”.

If she is accepted by the President, Viorica Dancila should be aware of the risks she might face from this position and of the mistakes she might make. She was proposed by Eugen Badalau and was strongly supported by the PSD women organization,” said Dragnea.

Asked if the pledge to continue the project of the amending the justice laws weighed in favor of Viorica Dancila’s nomination, the PSD chair stated that she had never gone back on the party’s ruling programme and the justice laws. “What also counted was her stance on the decentralization (a question by Marian Oprisan, leader of Vrancea), on the public communication and the relation with the ministers and the Parliament, on the relation with her party fellows,” Dragnea added.

Questioned what is recommending Viorica Dancila for this position, the PSD leader mentioned she has been MEP since 2009, she is respected in the party and in Brussels, is civilized and non-conflicting, sociable and has a good relation with the European Commission officials, arguing that Romania’s relations with the EC “must improve” in the view of the preparations for the takeover of the EU Council Presidency in 2019.

However, the PSD chair refused to mention the concrete projects at which Dancila used to excel in the European Parliament or within her activity in Romania, only saying that she will be the one to name these projects in a press conference if she is accepted by Iohannis for the PM position.

Yet, Dragnea has involuntarily the most important element that weighed for her nomination: “She is a guarantee for all colleagues that she will not generate actions like in the previous situations,” he said.

As for the structure of the future Cabinet, Dragnea revealed that every minister of the Tudose gov’t will be reviewed, but some might stay in office. According to him, the new ministers will be decided in the party but the PM will have the veto right on them in the end.

Asked by the journalists if he assumes a certain responsibility for this political crisis, that also impacted on the economy (the national currency’s plunge to a historic low) and at diplomatic level (the Japanese PM’s historic visit was shadowed by the governmental crisis in Bucharest), Dragnea avoided a precise answer, accusing the media instead of having an obsession with “this accountability”.

You have this obsession, I assume anything you want, including the fact that it snowed last night,” Dragnea ironically commented.

It’s important to fix things and to return to normality”, he said about the Euro-Ron, as for the Japanese visit he stated: “The deputy PM met the Japanese deputy PM, the premier met the President. As far as I know, there are more countries where the governments have changed”.

On the other hand, Dragnea seems to have changed his mind about never going to Cotroceni, stating on Tuesday that he will be part of the PSD delegation going for talks with President Iohannis on Wednesday, next to two other colleagues.

As for Viorica Dancila, albeit she expressed wish not to hold any press conference for now, the journalists managed to have her stance on the nomination. Upon leaving the PSD HQs, Dancila stated she is honored that her colleagues had nominated her and voiced hope to not disappoint them. Asked if she has experience to take over such a position, Dancila said “I think I have“, although she also avoided saying what is recommending her for the PM seat.

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