Romania set for first female PM
Romania’s president, Klaus Iohannis, has nominated member of the European Parliament Viorica Dancila (pictured) to become prime minister after Mihai Tudose resigned following a power struggle with his Social Democratic party colleagues.
“For me it’s very clear that the Social Democrats have a majority … so I weighed all arguments and decided to name their proposal for premier,” Iohannis told the media.
Dancila, 54, will be Romania’s first female prime minister and the third to assume the office in seven months if she receives parliamentary approval.
“The fact that Dancila doesn’t seem to have any political ambitions will mean that this will be a more stable government: she’s no threat to Dragnea,” Andrei Taranu of the Bucharest Political Science University. “Unfortunately, a stable government doesn’t necessarily mean a good government.”
Opposition parties are demanding a general election.
On Monday, Tudose was forced to resign after an argument with party chairman Liviu Dragnea, who is barred from the premiership because of a criminal conviction for vote-rigging.
In 2015 he was given a conviction for ballot-rigging during a 2012 referendum.
He was given a one-year suspended prison sentence, later increased to two years.
Prosecutors are also investigating allegations that he illegally obtained EU funds during his time in municipal politics in Teleorman from 2000 to 2012. The party boss denies any wrongdoing, saying the allegations are politically motivated.
Dancila will be its 15th prime minister since 1990, with only two completing a full term. She is set to take over an economy that surged an annual 8.8 per cent in the third quarter of last year. The European Commission, however, has questioned the sustainability of growth and the budgetary dangers of tax cuts and public-sector pay rises.
Dragnea said he had “made two bad choices” for prime minister but would not repeat the “mistake”.
“It’s very important that we move ahead with implementing the governing programme and prepare for Romania taking over [the rotating EU presidency],” Dancila said.
Dancila, seen as an ally of Dragnea, last year strongly defended legislation to change anti-corruption laws in Romania, including reforms that critics said would make it harder to prosecute corruption at the top of government.
Huge street protests persuaded the government to repeal the legislation. The European Commission and the US criticised the legal changes, saying they would undermine progress on the fight against corruption.
Viorica Dancila MEP. Picture credit: Wikimedia