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News 10 Nov 15

New Technocrat-Led Govt Expected in Romania

After PM Victor Ponta stepped down amid protests over a deadly nightclub fire, the next premier is likely to be an independent technocrat focused on maintaining growth, experts predicted.

Marian Chiriac
Romania is waiting for a new government | Photo: gov.ro

Consultations over a new Romanian prime minister are to be concluded this week, as analysts and officials predicted that a technocratic cabinet could be put in place until the next elections are held in December 2016.

“A technocratic government could handle the current situation if it has a clear defined, short-term mandate,” the governor of the Romanian national bank, Mugur Isarescu, said on Monday.

“There are several tasks for such a government, including maintaining stability and economic growth and, of course, to organise free elections. Nothing more,” he added.

Isarescu, who was also a technocrat premier in 1999-2000, is a respected voice in the country and his statements are followed carefully by officials.

He said that during his mandate as PM he had neither stability nor economic expansion, but managed to deliver a minimum level of growth.

“Imbalances were diminished and the elections were free,” he said.

President Klaus Iohannis is holding consultations with the main political parties on the appointment of a new prime minister after Victor Ponta resigned last week.

He quit following mass protests over the nightclub fire that killed 46 young people.

“President Iohannis will offer a solution that would secure stability and also contain public anger. In such context, a technocratic government is the most likely solution,” said journalist Victor Rotariu from news website Gandul.

Iohannis, who met with party leaders from the ruling coalition on Monday, said a governing programme must be decided before a new premier is picked. He has also said that he doesn’t favour early elections.

In the meantime the education minister, Sorin Cimpeanu, has stepped into the role of interim prime minister.

In a related development, Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea resigned Monday from the interim government, as he was facing criticism over the death of a policeman who was killed while accompanying his motorcade.

Local media have speculated on potential candidates for premier, with names including former European Union Commissioner Dacian Ciolos, national bank official Lucian Croitoru and ex-minister and sociologist, Vasile Dancu.

Ponta caused surprise on November 4 when he said he was stepping down after widespread discontent over corruption in the country was intensified by the deadly nightclub blaze in Bucharest.

The announcement came after more than 20,000 people marched on government headquarters in Bucharest, demanding the resignations of senior officials including Ponta because of the fire.

Ponta, who was Prime Minister for three-and-a-half years, is already facing trial on corruption charges.

He has said that he and his ministers will continue to perform their duties until a new government is formed.

It is the first time in 26 years that such a profound political change has been determined in Romania by peaceful protests.

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