Ruling Social Democrat leaders have convened for the Executive Committee sitting today, deciding to withdraw the political support for Justice Minister Tudorel Toader. There has been only one vote against, cast by the leader of PSD Vaslui, Dumitru Buzatu, who argued before the meeting that Toader “is a good professor, has a high legal prestige” and that “he can get a good grade even if his activity has not been the best one”.
On the other side, other SocDem leaders such as Paul Stanescu and Lia Olguta Vasilescu said before the CEx that Tudorel Toader should leave the office.
“The legal policy of a government is carried out by the parliamentary majority. We all appreciate him (Toader), but the government must enforce the policies of the ruling alliance“, Stanescu argued.
Asked if the Justice minister should leave the Government, Lia Olguta Vasilescu replied: “In my opinion, he should leave. I have already voiced my opinion publicly”.
Toader has been in the midst of the party leadership’ harsh criticism lately over his denial to adopt emergency ordinance in order to amend the criminal codes.
The chronicle of a dismissal foretold is thus the most probably version today that would lead to Toader’s being immediately toppled down from the helm of the Romanian justice ministry, the more a simple motion against him is scheduled in the Senate today. The motion has been repeatedly postponed and it should have been voted next week, but it seems that things got more heated and made PSD leaders decide that it is high time for the motion to be tackled.
PM Viorica Dancila has confirmed the withdrawal of Toader’s political endorsement, as well as that his resignation is wanted.
“The CEx has voted for Tudorel Toader’s dismissal, but I would like it to be doubled by a resignation. I hope Mr Toader will resign,” Dancila said, adding that she will have a conversation with Toader today.
Asked what Toader has done wrong for PSD to ask for his replacement, the premier stated: “There has been a lot of talk about justice in the public space, Tudorel Toader was wrong to say he will do certain things and not conclude them”.
At the same time, the Social Democrats have voted to proposed Eugen Nicolicea as the new Justice minister.
Asked after the meeting if Nicolicea will have to follow the party’s orders and adopt the emergency ordinances on justice that Toader had refused to assume, PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea denied, saying that the new minister should make sure that “legislative acts within the ministry should be unblocked”.
“No, he will don’t have to follow the party’s orders. The new minister of Justice, if he is appointed by Iohannis, will have to unblock the legislative acts from the Justice ministry that are related to the ruling programme. We don’t know if these grid-locks have been Toader’s fault or not. And the new minister will have to take care of the proper condition of the Judiciary in Romania”, Dragnea argued.
PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea and PM Viorica Dancila have come together in the meeting hall that hosted the party’s CEx, after they had previously had a one-hour-and-a-half talk in Dragnea’s office.
Asked about the government reshuffle and the replacement of the Justice minister, PM Dancila told before the meeting: “It is a political meeting, we’ll decide that in the CEx. I am the PSD executive president, it’s normal to discuss with my party fellows”.
Asked why Toader is missing the CEx, Liviu Dragnea said that only the PSD members had been invited to attend the meeting. Also questioned if he has asked for Toader’s resignation, Dragnea replied: “I haven’t discussed such a thing”.
Political sources were saying that there is a huge pressure from Liviu Dragnea and his allies on PM Viorica Dancila, who would refuse to sack Tudorel Toader. The same sources said that the relation between Dancila and Dragnea has grown colder and colder in the past month as she also refused to pass the emergency ordinances to amend the criminal codes.
The tensions and pressures would have reached the peak when Dragnea had publicly asked the premier to take a decision on replacing Toader and she had not done it.
Who is Nicolicea?
Boasting a 27-year-old experience in politics, Eugen Nicolicea is one of the main men of the current Social Democrat leadership, one of the artisans of the justice laws amendments and of the revision of the prison sentences, as well as a supporter of defining the public nuisance amid anti-government street rallies.
Nicolicea, aged 63, currently PSD deputy and vice-president of the Chamber of Deputies, is an engineer by profession, as he graduated the Electronics Faculty in Timisoara in 1982. He went to a private law school, the “Spiru Haret” University subsidiary in Drobeta-Turnu Severin, that he graduated following a distance learning module.
The SocDem deputy has denied to clear up the circumstances in which he graduated the law school, also threatening a journalist with withdrawing his press accreditation to the Parliament if the reporter insists with this story.
Another controversy around Nicolicea is related to his revolutionist certificate. According to an investigation conducted by Recorder.ro, Nicolicea claims he fought against communism in Drobeta Turnu Severin during the communist regime, although his resume posted on the lower chamber’s website reads that he was working in a factory in Bucharest during the years he claims he had been fighting the communist regime.
New ministers for European Funds and Diaspora
The Social Democrat party CEx has also voted the replacement of ministers for European Funds, Rovana Plumb and for Diaspora, Natalia Intotero, as the two are running for a MEP seat.
The party has decided that Rovana Plumb should be replaced by Oana Florea at the helm of European Funds ministry and Intotero by Liviu Brăiloiu for Diaspora.
“Regarding the nomination for the European Funds ministry, our candidate is Oana Florea, who has expertise as she worked in Brussels. I am convinced she is experienced in attracting European funds. For the Diaspora minister, we propose Liviu Brăiloiu. He has lived in Spain a long time”, PM Dancila argued.