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June 25, 2022

Liberals clash over shadow cabinet

Leading figures in the party are unhappy with Crin Antonescu for not having consulted them while forming his shadow cabinet.

The vice president of PNL, Varujan Vosganian, criticized, on Wednesday, in the Standing Delegation, the party leader, Crin Antonescu, calling on him to stop humiliating the Liberals when important decisions are made, sources in the party stated, quoted by “Romania Libera”. According to the sources, Vosganian voiced his dissatisfaction with the way in which Antonescu had chosen to form the shadow cabinet, without consulting the leaders and without promoting people from within the party. The Standing Delegation of PNL approved, on Wednesday, the shadow cabinet proposed by Antonescu, made up of 11 ministries, out of which four led by independents. “Mr. Antonescu, I’ve always supported you and I’ll go on supporting you, but stop humiliating us, don’t let us find out from the press what’s going on in the party. Stop humiliating us by this way of making decisions,” Vosganian allegedly said. According to the same sources, the Liberal voiced his dissatisfaction with the shadow cabinet appointed by Antonescu, criticizing the fact that he had preferred to bring people from outside the party rather than promoting PNL’s own human resources.

“I don’t think this is the right way to act. Who are these people? They do not represent the party. I don’t think it right that you should fail to consult the party leaders in this matter. I was humiliated to find out the make-up of the shadow cabinet from the press, without having been consulted beforehand,” Vosganian also said. In response, Antonescu allegedly told Vosganian, according to the Liberal sources: “I’ve made the decision myself, on my own”.

Other Liberal leaders, including Dan Radu Rusanu, Teodor Atanasiu and the former vice president Ludovic Orban, also criticized Antonescu because he opted for this make-up of the shadow cabinet and for presenting it publicly before conferring with the party, the quoted sources also argue. “I’ve seen the list of ministers on TV. I think that the gesture of appointing technocrats in the PNL Cabinet, people who carry no weight in the party, can only discourage the Liberals across the country in the following election campaigns,” Orban is said to have stated, according to HotNews. On the other hand, the former PNL leader, Calin Popescu Tariceanu preferred to act as a mediator, urging the Liberals against stirring mutiny. The president of PNL, Crin Antonescu, allegedly told the Liberals that he had strategically opted for appointing technocrats at the helm of key ministries, such as the Ministry of Justice and the Exchequer, to take the public opinion and the voters by surprise. “If we had persisted in nominating Liberals, for instance, Vosganian at the Finance Ministry and Relu Fenechiu at Transports, there wouldn’t have been such fuss around us. The press would have said that PNL was appointing the same people, who had held the office of ministers before, that we didn’t have any new people,” Antonescu explained. According to the sources, quoted by “Romania Libera”, Antonescu suggested, in his speech in the Standing Delegation, that, if the Liberals opposed the shadow cabinet he proposed, he was considering stepping down from his position as president, given that a negative vote would imply he had lost the party’s support.

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