- Dragnea denies any tensions within party branches
- Social Democrats to assemble Wednesday in National Executive Committee meeting
- The future governmental team will be present on Thursday in Parliament for the investiture
On Tuesday, Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Liviu Dragnea summoned designated Premier Mihai Tudose (photo) and the leaders of PSD’s county branches at the ‘Lac 1’ Villa, at 1 p.m., for exploratory talks on the makeup of the Government, considering that some ministries will be merged while others will be unified. It was basically an informal National Executive Committee (NatExCom) meeting preceding Wednesday’s official meeting in which the list of members of Government will be voted. Prior to the informal meeting, Tudose was at the PSD leader’s office at the Lower Chamber, where, according to political sources, they talked about the new Government and the procedural steps to be taken in what concerns its confirmation in Parliament. The meeting at ‘Lac 1’ Villa was attended also by ALDE President Calin Popescu Tariceanu.
When arriving at the talks with PSD’s local leaders and with designated Premier Mihai Tudose, Liviu Dragnea stated there is no tension within the Social Democrats’ party branches. In what concerns the structure of the Government, modifying it is not ruled out.
“I had a discussion with Mr Tariceanu and Mr Mihai Tudose this morning. Tomorrow we’ll continue the discussions with the rest of the colleagues too. Tomorrow, when the NatExCom starts, at 12.30 p.m., we should have a final option and we should politically approve it,” Liviu Dragnea stated.
The PSD leader added that he does not believe the structure of the Government will be changed, but this will be clearly established during the talks. Asked whether Tudorel Toader is no longer wanted in the Tudose Government, Dragnea answered: “I think the sources [of that information] are bad.”
All party branch leaders will be involved in the talks, he confirmed, denying that there are tensions within branches.
“No, on the contrary. We’re discussing together and with each of them. It will be a very serious discussion,” the PSD leader added.
Mihai Tudose says capacity to work and experience recommend him for PM’s office
PM-designate Mihai Tudose on Tuesday said “capacity to work” and “experience” recommend him for the Prime Minister’s office.
According to the Romanian National Television (TVR), Mihai Tudose was asked on Tuesday at the Economy Ministry headquarters what recommends him for the PM’s office. “Capacity to work, experience (…), we are talking about results,” was Tudose’s reply.
Moreover, asked if he was surprised by the fact that President Klaus Iohannis agreed to designate him as candidate for the PM’s office, Mihai Tudose pointed out: “It is a complicated answer. If this is what he found appropriate, then it was his will.”
At the same time, Tudose pointed out that the list of ministers is being prepared. “This is what we are doing these days and it isn’t only my demarche, but of the entire coalition,” Tudose said, mentioning that “there will be changes” in his government compared to the Grindeanu Cabinet.
President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday signed the decree on Mihai Tudose’s designation as candidate for the Prime Minister office, in order to ask for Parliament’s confirmation vote on the programme and list of the new government, the Presidential Administration informed.
“PSD and ALDE claim they continue to hold the majority in Parliament. They showed up together and they forwarded a nomination – Mr Tudose. The Opposition parties did not have concrete proposals and the talks revealed there is apparently no political agreement. On the other hand, this crisis gravely damages the Romanian economy, Romania’s image in the world, and my opinion is that an end should be quickly put to this crisis. We must have a new Government that would start to solve the problems left unresolved, the problems that appeared because of this crisis,” Klaus Iohannis started on Monday evening.
The list of possible members of the new Government. Tudose Cabinet to have different structure but also a series of new names
The Mihai Tudose Cabinet will have among its members both members of the previous Sorin Grindeanu Government – such as Labour Minister Lia Olguta Vasilescu, Interior Minister Carmen Dan, Regional Development Minister Sevil Shhaideh, Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu and Agriculture Minister Petre Daea – but also new members such as Sorina Pintea at the Health Ministry, Dorel Caprar at the Defence Ministry and Mihnea Costoiu at the Education Ministry, according to a list of names leaked on Monday evening, which PSD sources confirmed for News.ro on Tuesday.
At the same time, the structure of the new Government will be changed, the European Grants Ministry set to become a stand-alone portfolio, and the Education Ministry set to merge with the Research and Innovation Ministry.
According to some party sources, the future Tudose Government will consist of: Regional Development Minister and Deputy Premier Sevil Shhaideh; Environment Minister Gratiela Gavrilescu; Interior Minister Carmen Dan; Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu; Defence Minister Dorel Caprar; Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici or Viorel Arcas; Agriculture Minister Petre Daea; Education, Research and Innovation Minister Mihnea Costoiu; Labour Minister Lia Olguta Vasilescu; Economy Minister Gheorghe Simon; Energy Minister Toma Petcu; Transport Minister Alexandru Cuc; Health Minister Sorina Pintea; Environment Minister Doina Pana; Youth and Sport Minister Gabriel Petrea; Delegated Minister for Romanian Expats Andreea Pastirnac; Public Consultation and Social Dialogue Minister Liviu Pop; Minister for the Relation with Parliament Viorel Ilie; European Grants Minister Rovana Plumb; Delegated Minister for European Affairs Ana Birchall and Tourism Minister Mircea Dobre.
Intense negotiations for forming new Tudose Gov’t
However, PSD Senator Mihnea Costoiu has allegedly refused the proposal to take over the Education Ministry within the Tudose Government, PSD sources told Mediafax on Tuesday afternoon.
The same sources pointed out that Ecaterina Andronescu’s name is rumoured for that portfolio.
The mentioned sources pointed out that Senator Liviu Pop, whose name was rumoured for the Ministry of Public Consultation and Social Dialogue, will not take over the ministry, no proposal being made in this sense.
The mentioned sources also pointed out that the Justice Ministry is being disputed, the Social Democrats being “torn” between maintaining Tudorel Toader in office or replacing him.
ALDE wants Mihai Tudose to keep the 4 ministers it had in former Gov’t. Tariceanu: Tudorel Toader, PSD’s responsibility. We’ll jointly take the decision
ALDE decided on Tuesday to ask appointed PM Mihai Tudose to keep as members of Government, on the same portfolios, the four members it had in the previous Government – Gratiela Gavrilescu, Teodor Melescanu, Viorel Ilie and Toma Petcu. ALDE President Calin Popescu Tariceanu did not want to comment on Justice Minister Tudorel Toader’s situation, saying that “PSD took responsibility” for that portfolio.
“The decision we took is to keep the same participation, numerically speaking. We’ll have 4 ministers in the future Government, who will hold the same portfolios they held,” Tariceanu said at the end of ALDE’s meeting, pointing out that these nominations will be forwarded to PM designate Mihai Tudose.
ALDE’s nominations are: Gratiela Gavrilescu – Deputy Premier and Environment Minister; Teodor Melescanu – Foreign Minister; Tomac Petcu – Energy Minister; Viorel Ilie – Minister for the Relation with Parliament.
Asked about the fate of independent Justice Minister Tudorel Toader, Tariceanu said that “the Justice Ministry is a ministry for which PSD took responsibility.”
He did not want to answer the journalist’s questions about the fact that ALDE proposed Tudorel Toader for that office. “I can’t give you any extra element. (…) I believe he did a good job, but this is a decision that will be jointly taken,” Tariceanu said.
According to him, the future governmental team will be present on Thursday in Parliament for the investiture.
“We had a brief meeting with the ALDE Central Political Bureau to formalize the ministerial proposals in the future government, according to statutory obligations. Mihai Tudose was appointed prime minister and is due to form his governmental team and will be present in Parliament on Thursday afternoon with the governing programme and the members of the governmental team in order to get Parliament’s vote of confidence. It was only natural for us as members of the ruling coalition to make decisions about our participation in the future government,” Tariceanu explained.
PNL demands Shhaideh should not be member of future Gov’t; Turcan: She allocated large amounts of PNDL funds to PSD fiefdoms
PNL First Vice President Raluca Turcan accused Sevil Shhaideh of allocating considerable funds from the National Programme for Local Development (PNDL) to PSD fiefdoms immediately after tendering her resignation from the Government, the Liberals demanding that Shhaideh should not be a member of the future Government for this reason.
The Liberals are dissatisfied PSD has rejected PNL’s request for the Lower Chamber’s Standing Bureau to summon Sevil Shhaideh to explain the way PNDL funds were earmarked.
“For several months, the National Programme for Local Development wasn’t functional, and during the political crisis the Development Minister “bribed” the PSD barons, exclusively based on political and clan criteria, using public funds. Just a few hours after she tendered her resignation from the Government, the Development Minister allocated the biggest PNDL sums to Social Democrat fiefdoms – district mayoralties, Teleorman, Arges, Olt, Ialomita, Braila [counties] – precisely in order to make the PSD leaders loyal and to keep them captive in the camp of PSD boss Mr Liviu Dragnea,” Raluca Turcan claims.
She considers that the earmarking of funds was “a political transaction” for votes in favour of the no-confidence motion against the Grindeanu Government.
“This was the main stake of the power struggle inside PSD – the political control over the allocation of budget resources. PNL demands that Minister Sevil Shhaideh should not be member of the future Government,” Raluca Turcan said.
PNL’s Lower Chamber whip Raluca Turcan filed with the Lower Chamber’s Standing Bureau, last Thursday, a request for Regional Development Minister Sevil Shhaideh to explain the use of the funds earmarked from the National Programme for Local Development.
The Regional Development Minister had announced, on June 16th, the start of the second stage of the National Programme for Local Development, which will see the financing of 9,500 investment objectives, of which 2,500 creches and kindergartens and 2,000 schools.
“Today, June 16th, stage two of the National Programme for Local Development (PNDL) is starting, the special assessment of the allocation of programme funds being completed, and the signing of the financing orders for each county being ongoing. PNDL’s second stage finances 9,500 investment objectives, of which 2,500 creches and kindergartens, 2,000 schools and 5,000 other objectives (in all eligible fields). Total funds of 30 billion lei in commitment appropriations are earmarked for these investments,” the Regional Development Minister announced at the time.
Victor Ponta claimed, on June 18th, that Development Minister Sevil Shhaideh wanted to allocate PNDL funds for mayors and MPs, in return for favourable votes on the no-confidence motion against the Grindeanu Government.
“All of Romania’s investment funds and European grants have been allocated to Minister Sevil Shhaideh, who signed no contract until June 16th, made no investment, after which, on Friday, June 16ht, after she resigned, she announced she’s getting ready to give money to people, to parliamentarians, to mayors, which is abnormal. The PNDL is very good, but you don’t use the programme’s funds for votes on a motion against your own Government,” Victor Ponta added.
PSD’s Dragnea: President’s statements and attitude since beginning of crisis were correct
President Iohannis’s statements and attitude since the beginning of the crisis were constitutionally correct, Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea said on Tuesday, ahead of the meeting with party leaders at the ‘Lac 1’ Villa, near Bucharest, meeting aimed at approving the list of ministers from the new Cabinet which will be validated at the National Executive Committee (CExN) meeting convened on Wednesday.
“I liked it, I cannot say it surprised me (the President’s attitude on Monday night, ed. n.), because all of the President’s statements and attitude ever since the beginning of the crisis were very correct from the Constitution’s point of view,” Liviu Dragnea asserted.