News 20 Dec 16

Romanian Parliament Convenes But PM Remains Unknown

The winners of the December 11 elections, the Social Democrats, formed a coalition with the Alliance of the Liberals and Democrats to nominate a cabinet, but no prime minister has been chosen yet.

Ana Maria Touma
BIRN
Bucharest
The Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest. Photo: arjenD/Wikimedia Commons

The new Romanian parliament, elected on December 11, held its first sitting on Tuesday, with the Social Democratic Party, PSD and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, ALDE striking a deal to establish a coalition government.

The PSD and ALDE signed an agreement on Monday evening to come up with a joint cabinet, where portfolios are to be assigned to the two parties proportionally.

They also said they would seek the support of the Democrat Union of Hungarians in Romania in parliament, but would not include it in the government coalition.

The opposition is unlikely to come up with an alternative coalition that is able to form a government.

After several high-ranking resignations due to their poor election showing, the Liberals announced they would not suggest a candidate for prime minister to President Klaus Iohannis.

The name of the new Romanian prime minister remains a mystery, although PSD sources circulated several names before Wednesday’s consultations with Iohannis.

The first suggested name was the head of the PSD, Liviu Dragnea, but Iohannis warned he would not agree to nominate a prime minister who has been convicted of or investigated for graft.

Dragnea was given a one-year suspended prison sentence in 2015 for electoral fraud during a referendum three years earlier.

Although the PSD insisted on his appointment, Iohannis remained firm and the party has to come up with a different nominee.

Other suggested candidates are a vice-governor of the Romanian National Bank, former ministers, the head of the PSD group in the Senate, Mihai Fifor, as well as the mayor of Bucharest, Gabriela Firea.

Dragnea said that the PM he has in mind will certainly be a long-time party member.

He also hinted that the name will be made public on Wednesday at noon, after consultations with the president.

If the premier’s name is agreed with Iohannis on Wednesday, parliament will vote on the new cabinet next week.

 

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