Romania to pick new PM next week

Romania to pick new PM next week

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis (pictured) may nominate a new prime minister early next week, as consultations with the political parties are due to take place on Monday.

The government led by Sorin Grindeanu was overthrown on Wednesday by a parliamentary vote of no confidence, unusually filed by his own ruling coalition.

Iohannis invited a delegation of five representives from each party to the Cotroceni Palace.

Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Liviu Dragnea said that he was sure that the president would accept the PSD’s proposal for prime minister. Once appointed, the new prime minister will have 10 days to win a vote of confidence in parliament for their cabinet and legislative programme.

The centre-left, governing PSD has been embroiled in a bitter, internal feud.

After winning comfortably in December and forming a coalition government, it angered many Romanians when it proposed legislation that would have pardoned jailed public figures serving sentences for bribery. The party also raised the financial threshold at which point corruption is punishable by jail. Romania then saw the largest protests in the country since the fall of communism in 1989.

The party split over the power struggle between Grindeanu and Dragnea, who cannot serve as prime minister because of a 2016 conviction for voter fraud. He is widely considered to be the power behind the scenes.

The motion of no confidence, which accused Grindeanu of delaying pushing through economic and social reforms in one of Europe’s poorest countries, passed by 241 votes to seven, more than the 233 required.

Despite the resignation of 25 of the 26 members of his cabinet, Grindeanu had refused to quit after his party withdrew its support last week.

He accused Dragnea of trying to “concentrate all the power” in his hands.

“This is a sad day for us. The premier did not perform,” Dragnea told MPs ahead of the no-confidence motion. “It didn’t go badly, it went quite well, but that’s not enough.”

The outgoing premier said he would remain in office until a new government was installed, adding that Dragnea’s influence would mean his replacement had “no chance of exercising the role”.

Grindeanu stressed that the country must “get out of this blockage and send a message to investors and governments around the world that Romania remains a stable and predictable environment”.

Although Romania’s economy is growing at about 5.6 per cent, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission have warned that the country remained in urgent need of extensive reforms.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. Picture credit: Wikimedia


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