The chief of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) , George Maior, on Tuesday tendered his resignation to President Klaus Iohannis, according to an announcement made by the Presidential Administration. The President accepted it.
Maior’s resignation took the political stage and commentators by surprise, all the more so as, in his vast interview granted to B1 TV, he suggested that he had President Klaus Iohannis’ support to continue as chief of the Service.
As a matter of fact, in a recent interview to ‘Adevarul Live’, the head of state answered a question on his opinion on George Maior by saying that he had done his job well and was a professional and that changing the head of SRI was not a current topic.
In October 2014, George Maior had stated that, after the presidential elections, he would bring to the new President his resignation from head of the SRI, following the head of state to decide if he was going to remain in office or not.
Ponta: It would be a bad idea SRI to return under a political control
Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Tuesday voiced “his entire appreciation” for the reform that the former chief of the Romanian Intelligence Service carried out at this institution.
“I have a great appreciation for the real reform carried out over the past eight years by George Maior at the SRI! It would be a bad idea SRI to return under a political control!,” Ponta wrote on his Twitter account.
Georgian Pop: Maior was unhappy with the legislative vacuum
The chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee for the Control of the Romanian Intelligence Service’s (SRI) activity, Georgian Pop, on Tuesday said that he respects the decision of former SRI head George Maior to resign his post and added that the latter was unhappy with the legislative vacuum created after the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) rejected the “three security laws”.
“I spoke with Mr. Director Maior, his resignation is a unilateral act, it reflects his wish to make this decision. From the discussions we had I understood that he is in a period of dissatisfaction regarding the legislative vacuum created by the rejection of the three security laws. There is discontent at the level of the SRI on the matter. On the other hand, I can say that under Mr. Maior’s leadership the SRI underwent a process of institutional reform,” said Pop for Agerpres.
He added that in the earlier discussions he had with George Maior, the former head of the SRI did not touch upon the subject of resignation.
“It is a gesture and a will I respect,” Georgian Pop concluded.
Journalist Radu Tudor: Maior has been pressed to resign from abroad
Journalist Radu Tudor says the Director of SRI, George Maior, has decided to resign office following the scandal over the pressure put by the Service on CCR judges. Radu Tudor believes Maior has been pressed to resign from abroad.
‘There have been statements made by CCR judges who said they felt threatened by SRI and the politicians who support SRI’s version of the Big Brother Law. The concern of the Constitutional judges was shared with the European Commission whose representatives came to Bucharest for evaluations regarding the CVM report. If the concern of CCR was sent to Brussels, it means that the national scandal has been also exported abroad. I believe George Maior, following such an evaluation, has decided to resign. Klaus Iohannis said very clearly he had no reason to have him replaced. Most likely the tension regarding the Big Brother Law, which is going to persist… led to this sudden leave’, Radu Tudor said on Antena 3 TV.
Political consultant Cozmin Gusa: Maior had a long and consistent term
The political consultant Cozmin Gusa says that the reason why George Maior has resigned may be related to his first announcement made last October, namely that he would submit his mandate to the new President.
“George Maior has had a long and consistent mandate. He succeeded, in a complicated situation and with a ‘calamity’ political class to make the strategic partnership with the United States credible, which is not a small thing. I’ve known George Maior for a long time. I see his resignation only as an end of a stage and the beginning of something else. I would not consider the interview with Dan Andronic, we each express ourselves in some way and can be understood in another way by some who don’t want to understand us as we wanted to express ourselves.
We cannot compare the SRI’s reform in recent years with what happens at the Constitutional Court. The reason why George Maior has resigned may be linked to his first announcement made last October, namely that he would submit his mandate to the new President. Maior added consistency to the act of leadership of an intelligence service. The team he made with General Florian Coldea was a team of great success, with complementary activities and initiatives that are expected to regenerate,” Gusa told Realitatea TV.
General Florian Mihai Coldea takes over as interim SRI head
After Maior’s resignation, the Service will be temporarily headed by the first Deputy SRI Director, General Florian Mihai Coldea.
A few days ago, George Maior was saying he had seen President Iohannis and said that he still had his support.
In the same interview, Maior launched un unprecedented attack on the constitutional Court, after the CCR judges had rejected the Big Brother Law as unconstitutional.
According to DC News, there are five key-questions following George Maior’s resignation as head of SRI:
1. Did George Maior leave because of the interview he had granted over the weekend or did he know he would resign prior to the interview?
2. Did the conflict with CCR weigh at all on his decision to quit SRI?
3. Did he resign after consultations with President Klaus Iohannis?
4. If the trend launched in Traian Basescu where intelligence chiefs are named by the opposition, who exactly will be the opposition in this particular case? PSD, who is in opposition to the president, but who has the Government and the majority in Parliament, or PNL who is on the same wave length as the head of state, but in opposition to the Government and in minority in Parliament?
5. Will George Maior be back to PSD?
Names mentioned as possible Maior’s successors
The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, is going to propose a new SRI director after George Maior’s departure. A list of possible variants has been circulated on the political stage for a few months now, without any being credited to very important chances, stiripesurse.ro says.
The first aspect is whether Iohannis will propose a SRI director from the Power or from the Opposition.
If he follows in Traian Basescu’s footsteps, he should give that position to the Opposition, meaning PNL. However, the SIE leadership, which is also vacant, is also under discussion.
Names from the Opposition:
– George Scutaru, presidential adviser
– Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, presidential adviser
Names from the Power:
– Gabriel Oprea, Deputy Prime Minister
– Ioan Rus, Minister of Transport
– Georgian Pop, Chairman of SRI Committee in Parliament
How will the new SRI director be chosen?
The appointment of a new SRI director is at the tip of Klaus Iohannis’ pen, in agreement with the Parliament and CSAT, with the Parliament only having the role of hearing and voting on the proposal made by the president.
Under Law 14/1992 on the organisation and operation of SRI, a new director of the Service is appointed following a clear procedure.
The Romanian Intelligence Service is headed by a director who has the rank of minister, appointed by the Chamber of Deputies and Senate in joint session, at the proposal of the President of Romania, following the hearing of the proposed candidate by the committee for parliamentary oversight of the activity of the Romanian Intelligence Service, who presents a report before the two Chambers of the Parliament.
Upon appointment to office, the director is sworn in by the Parliament. The text of the pledge is:
‘I, …, swear to fulfil with good faith and impartiality, in full respect of the Constitution and laws of the country, my duties as director of the Romanian Intelligence Service’, reads the SRI Organisation Law.