Crin Antonescu said that he expects of Sibiu mayor, Klaus Johannis, who is the PNL nomination for Vice-Premier and Minister of the Interior, to put the Government into better order and provide a powerful representation of the Liberals’ stance in the Government.
Liberals Klaus Johannis, Eugen Nicolaescu, Cristian Busoi and Teodor Atanasiu have been validated by the party’s leadership to assume the ministerial positions at the ministries of Home Affairs, Finances, Health, and Economy, respectively.
‘Following the resignations of our colleagues Daniel Chitoiu, Radu Stroe, Eugen Nicolaescu and Andrei Gerea, the National Political Bureau of PNL (BPN) has debated the proposals made, and voted the following nominations of PNL for this positions within the Government: Klaus Johannis at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Vice-Premier; Eugen Nicolaescu at the Ministry of Public Finances; Teodor Atanasiu at the Economy and Cristian Busoi at the Ministry of Health,’ chairman of the National Liberal Party (PNL), Crin Antonescu said, quoted by Agerpres.
Liberal President said that the proposed Liberal ministers approved by BPN have been communicated Prime Minister Victor Ponta and stressed the prime minister took note of them and raised no objections.
Antonescu said that he expects of Johannis, in his new capacity refers, to a better cooperation with Ponta: ‘We expect Mr. Johannis, in his capacity as Vice Premier, to ensure a better cooperation and a permanent dialogue with the Prime Minister inside a broad coalition Government, which from now on till 2016 has huge responsibilities to fulfill in Romania’. At the same time, he described as ‘ridiculous’ the talk that Klaus Johannis’s designation as Vice Prime Minister could bring about instability and he stressed that, quite the contrary, such a decision is a signal that the PNL is involved in Government ‘at the utmost’. The Liberal leader stressed there cannot be talk of instability, since the parliamentary majority is of more than 70 per cent.
‘(…) we have a very powerful Government, there are procedural details that we are solving, we have all the legislation and all the political capacity to resolve these issues inside this Government and, if need be, inside the Parliament’, he added. The Liberal leader underscored he cannot share such a viewpoint and that it is about matters to be discussed and settled together with the prime minister.
About Cristian Busoi (the party’s proposal for Health Minister), Antonescu said that he is waiting from him to take the healthcare reform further, regardless the influence exerted by the groups of interests in this sector: ‘I expect a young health minister able to give patients and tax payers the feeling they enjoy their full rights as European citizens from this point of view’. He said that Busoi is ‘one of the best products of PNL.’
Regard to Teodor Atanasiu, the party’s proposal for Economy Minister, PNL chairman is waiting to find solutions to the major economic files, such as the planned gold mining at Rosia Montana and the exploitations regime.
Atanasiu, who also attended the news conference, stressed that in a country such as Romania, which must cover major delays as compared to most European Union countries, the public policies on economy can only be Liberal. ‘
On the other hand, Economy Minister Andrei Gerea said he has not yet resigned his position and his being replaced by Teodor Atanasiu is a movement aimed to breathe new life into the government. He added he would tender resignation first thing today and stressed he has nothing to reproach the PNL President, Crin Antonescu.
Johannis not willing to give up mayoralty too easily…
Sibiu Mayor Klaus Johannis said he is not willing to give up his position ‘too easily’, after the leadership of the PNL, the prime vice president of which he is, designated him as Minister of the Interior and Vice Prime Minister. ‘There is a precedent, there was a mayor who at the same time was a prime minister – good for him’, Johannis said. He explained that if the legislation allows it, he will resort to the legislation. ‘I think solutions can be found to an interim (mayor) for a reasonable duration, so as to see how things develop’, he added. On the other hand, Johannis said that there is the possibility that he give up the Sibiu mayoralty, if things go well in the Government.
In connection to his nomination for deputy Premier and Minister of the Interior, he explained that his role will be that of coordinating, keeping everything well-ordered under his authority and enforce the law. At the same time, the Sibiu mayor added that his goal is to improve the visibility of the Liberal ruling component. When asked what decision he will make if having to choose between being a mayor or a Government member, Johannis answered: ‘I hope I will have the proper inspiration then to make the right choice’.
Meanwhile, Sibiu deputy mayor Astrid Fodor of the German Democratic Forum of Romania (FDGR) could replace Johannis, if he suspends himself and takes up as vice premier and interior minister
President Basescu: Johannis, a gain; PM Ponta: A big win for Gov’t
Prime Minister Victor Ponta said Saturday in Sochi that, in his opinion, Klaus Johannis is a big win for the Government and that PNL’s nominations for governmental offices are valuable people: ‘I have seen the proposals coming from the fellow Liberals. They are valuable people, and first among them is Mr. Johannis, whom I want in the Cabinet and who I believe will bring added value to the Government’. He added that the technical decisions behind the nominations will be discussed by the leadership of the ruling Social Liberal Union (USL) in Bucharest.
The same opinion has President Basescu, who says that the Sibiu City Mayor is a gain for the government. ‘This time his appointment wasn’t decided by Grivco, as it was the first time, when he was advised by Dan Voiculescu. However, he must take care of the incompatibility matter,’ stated the President on Saturday evening.
Johannis cannot be vice PM in current context, Dan Sova says
PSD Vice Chairman Dan Sova does not have the same opinion, arguing that Klaus Johannis cannot be vice prime minister in the current context, because the Executive would be obliged to ask Parliament for a new vote of confidence, and this situation might lead to a new period of instability. “It’s impossible for Mr. Johannis, proposed by PNL for vice prime minister and minister of the interior, to become vice prime minister on economic and fiscal matters, because this position belongs to the finance minister. His portfolio enables Mr. Johannis to be deputy prime minister for matters of national safety and public order. But this position is already taken by Mr. Gabriel Oprea (UNPR) and obviously, his position within the Romanian Government cannot be questioned,” Sova said. He added that the issue relating the opportunity and legality of Mr. Johannis being minister and mayor at the same time should be discussed.
In this turn, Deputies’ Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea said that if Johannis wants to become a Cabinet member, he has to obey the law and resign as mayor before the swearing-in ceremony.