Who will be the new defence minister?

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The Social Democrats’ nominee for the office of Defence Minister, vacated after Adrian Tutuianu resigned as a result of the salary payments scandal, will be known on Tuesday. “The nomination will be made on Tuesday,” PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Sunday. He announced that an expanded party meeting will take place, in which he will present Premier Mihai Tudose the proposed name of the new Defence Minister.

Asked whether the Supreme Defence Council (SDC) meeting scheduled for Thursday is linked to the current crisis at the Ministry of Defence, Dragnea answered negatively: “I don’t think so, and I don’t see what crisis. There is an acting minister, he has all competencies. There can be no crisis.”

Immediately after the Social Democratic leader’s announcement, the names of the most likely candidates for the Defence portfolio started circulating, with Mihai Weber, chairman of the parliamentary committee overseeing the activity of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), opening the list, according to Digi24.

At his second stint as Lower House member, PSD’s Mihai Weber is a mechanical engineer, having graduated the Bucharest Polytechnic University. His resume, posted on the Lower House website, also shows that he has been a Ph.D. candidate at the Valahia University in Targoviste since 2010, and also that he has an ORNISS certificate, a certificate for “security and good governance” from the ‘Carol I’ University, and a certificate from the Romanian Diplomatic Institute.

Also in the books are other MPs, members of the Defence Committee, such as Ion Mocioalca, Gabriel Vlase and Georgian Pop. The latter was chairman of the parliamentary committee overseeing the activity of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) and is currently Secretary of the Lower House and member of the Defence Committee.

Ion Mocioalca is Secretary of the Defence Committee. He graduated the National Defence College but has a Ph.D. in economy.

Gabriel Vlase is Deputy Speaker of the Lower House. He has a Ph.D. in military science and intelligence, from the National Intelligence Academy.

So far, nobody has mentioned Mircea Dusa, former Defence Minister during the Ponta Government (2012-2015), currently Secretary of State within the Defence Ministry. He was not given the acting leadership of the ministry either, Deputy PM Marcel Ciolacu, who is close to Liviu Dragnea, being preferred instead.

The future minister will go to Washington this month, on a visit that ambassador George Maior had organised for Adrian Tutuianu.