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Update: Viorica Dancila, the new PM-designate. Romania to have the first woman Prime Minister

After consultations held with the parliamentary parties, President Klaus Iohannis announced in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon that he is giving one more chance to the PSD-ALDE ruling coalition and accepts their proposal for the PM seat, Viorica Dancila. The Social Democrat MEP will be thus the first woman prime minister in Romania’s history.

It  isn’t the first time that a woman is proposed to take the helm of the Government in Bucharest. After winning general elections in 2016, the Social Democrat Party proposed Sevil Shhaideh for the PM seat, but the proposal was denied by President Iohannis.

“I have listened to a lot of opinions related to forming the new government and the premier’s designation. I have listened the politicians’ opinions and arguments all day long, but between meetings, I have also managed to listen to the opinions of the ordinary people, to read messages including on social media. There are the arguments related to the parties’ policy, related to Romania’s domestic policy, related to our country’s foreign and security policy. I have listened and read these opinions very carefully and I have weighed them. First of all, this decision must be compliant with the Constitution and with the Constitutional Court’s decisions regarding the nomination procedure and here the strongest argument is the parliamentary arithmetic. It’s very clear to me that PSD has majority in Parliament,” Iohannis stated.

Therefore, the head of state accepts Viorica Dancila, the PSD-ALDE’s nomination for the PM seat, yet sending a warning to the Social Democrats.

“Now, PSD must perform. Romanians have high expectations and I have high expectations. PSD has promised major things during and after the electoral campaign, he promised salaries, pensions, schools, schoolbooks, hospitals, infrastructure, but so far too less has been made. Now PSD must prove that it is doing what it has pledged.

We have two PSD failed Cabinets one year after the general elections won by PSD. Now they receive the chance to prove that they know what and how to do. I further invite those involved in the procedure to get mobilized and work quick and well. It’s possible that by February 1 the entire procedure could be concluded and the new Gov’t to get down to business and solve the problems rather than complicate them,” Iohannis said.

 

Consultations for new gov’t. PSD advanced their PM proposal, the Opposition called for snap elections, except for the PMP that had two proposals for the PM seat

Consultations with political parties called by President Iohannis so that a new government led by a new prime minister could be established as soon as possible have started on Wednesday around 12:00 at Cotroceni Presidential Palace. The first to talk to the head of state were the leaders of the PSD-ALDE ruling alliance, a delegation led by PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea and ALDE secretary general, Daniel Chitoiu. The ruling coalition announced their option for the PM position goes to MEP Viorica Dancila as announced on Tuesday.

On the other hand, the opposition parties want snap elections, while PMP would like Iohannis to nominate a premier from the opposition, with PMP leader Traian Basescu even advancing two proposals from his party for the PM seat.

After meeting President Iohannis, PSD chair Liviu Dragnea said that he hopes President Iohannis would accept their nomination, while also giving the President a list with the signatures of the ruling coalition’s lawmakers to prove that the PSD-ALDE coalition still has the majority in Parliament.

We have a list with the signatures of all PSD-ALDE MPs, as there has been information lately that we would have lost the majority,” Dragnea stated, adding that the President knows “which is the majority”.

The President recorded it and told us he doesn’t want to prolong this situation and that he wants to have a government as soon as possible. He will take a decision after he talks to the other parties as well,” the SocDem chairman said.
Asked if UDMR is also endorsing Viorica Dancila for the PM position, he said he had talked to the union’s leader Kelemen Hunor, who said they have nothing against this nomination.

Also questioned about one of his previous statements that he will not go to Cotroceni during this mandate, Dragnea explained that he didn’t think it would be necessary again. “When I made these statements I didn’t think we’d have new consultations on this topic at Cotroceni, but truth is stranger than fiction. It wouldn’t have been fair from my side not to personally present the PM proposal to Romania’s President,” Dragnea pointed out.

We express hope that the Romanian President accepts Mrs. Viorica Dancila (…) after all we have a common responsibility,” the PSD chair said before the talks.

On the other side, PNL told the head of state during consultations that the party is in favor of snap elections and that they are willing to assume responsibility if there is another option where the Liberals could provide a majority at rule without PSD.

Our option is to call for early elections, as we consider that the population’ options today have nothing to do anymore with their option at the 2016 elections,”, PNL chairman Ludovic Orban said after talks.

He added that PNL had decided not to take part in any ruling formula that should comprise PSD and that they would veto any ruling formula containing the Social Democrats.

Orban continued that he had informed the President that PNL could assume responsibility in kicking off negotiations to form a new parliamentary majority to endorse a government without PSD, if requested.

As for their proposal for the PM seat, there will be the party chairman Ludovic Orban. “This will be enforced provided that we are granted this opportunity,” Orban added though.

Asked if the Liberals do believe in snap elections as a viable solution, considering that Iohannis has said he didn’t want to prolong this political crisis, Orban replied: “I am convinced the President is facing an extremely difficult decision, to choose between two bad things”, adding that from the Liberals’ point of view, snap elections are the best solution, although it has its risks, like the one of having an illegitimate government and the economic risks.

The National Liberal Party delegation was led by chairman Ludovic Orban and consists in Raluca Turcan, Robert Sighiartău, Vlad Nistor and Iulian Dumitrescu.

In its turn, USR also goes for the snap elections’ option, albeit admitting it would hard to get there. USR hasn’t forwarded any proposal for the PM seat during the consultations with President Iohannis, only mentioning they would endorse a premier who is not from PSD, if the head of state makes such a nomination.

Naming a non-PSD premier is a major stake for Romania. We expressed our support for such a Government if the President decides to appoint such a premier,” USR chairman Dan Barna said.

As for PMP, chairman Traian Basescu, former Romanian President, told his predecessor Klaus Iohannis that PSD and ALDE are not able to rule and forwarded two proposals for the PM position: Siegfried Muresan and Eugen Tomac, PMP members. Muresan is a member of the European Parliament and Tomac is a member of the Romanian Parliament.

I am counting on all opposition parties, the minorities, I don’t rule out either the high possibility that part of the PSD members, discontent with Daddy (nickname given to Liviu Dragnea) to have other voting options at the second attempt to form the Government. The Parliament will not risk toppling down two Cabinets,” Basescu stated, adding that cracks are emerging in PSD and that the SocDems have no wish to embark on a new electoral campaign
Previously Basescu had posted on Facebook that President Iohannis is entitled and why not, he has the political obligation to also attempt a nomination of a premier from the Opposition. “Play, Mr. President! I think it’s worth it,” Basescu said.

About Alina Grigoras Butu