The Social Democratic Party (PSD) National Executive Committee meets on Monday to make a decision after Doina Pana resigned as Minister of Waters and Forests, but also to discuss the opportunity of a broader government restructuring amid growing dissatisfaction inside the party.
Tudose Gov’t might undergo restructuring. PSD leadership split over Gov’t reshuffle
The start of the year could also bring about a reshuffling of the Tudose Government. The statement was made last week by Social Democratic Party (PSD) Executive President Niculae Badalau, who stated for Digi24 that the Government could end up consisting of only 16 ministries, down from the current 24.
PSD’s number two man also said that an extraordinary party congress would be beneficial for the party. According to Badalau, PSD’s National Executive Committee, which is set to convene on Monday, will decide whether the reshuffling of the Tudose Government and a party congress is needed. Badalau however ruled out the possibility of Liviu Dragnea being replaced.
Asked whether the party congress could result in the replacement of the party leader, Badalau ruled out this option from the start, stiripesurse.ro informs.
“No, this possibility does not exist. We have a president whose name is Liviu Dragnea and we are going forward. A congress is not ruled out, however this is part of the party’s internal life,” Niculae Badalau stated for RomaniaTV private broadcaster.
Talks about the convening of the PSD congress appeared against the backdrop in which new rumours about the power struggle within the party, as well as information according to which some PSD leaders are allegedly challenging party leader Liviu Dragnea, have recently surfaced.
“According to the latest statements made by party president Liviu Dragnea and by the Premier, a new Government architecture is allegedly wanted. Bearing this in mind, the ExCom will take the decision. We want a leaner Government. Probably somewhere in the ballpark of 16 or 17 ministries,” Niculae Badalau said.
“I believe a congress would be good for the party’s health, a conference in which we would relaunch our political ideas, we would relaunch political life, especially since 2018 is a pre-elections year, we know that in 2019 there will be two rounds of elections. According to the Statute, at the party conference we can only elect Vice Presidents, leadership bodies. But I don’t believe we should hold an elections conference now,” he added.
In fact, at the end of last year, PSD leader Liviu Dragnea also expressed himself in favour of an analysis on the shape of the Government and the possibility of restructuring it. Premier Tudose, on the other hand, avoided the topic.
On the other hand, another PSD leader, namely Deputy PM Paul Stanescu, believes that a party conference would not be a good solution and that the Tudose Government should not be reshuffled.
“I don’t believe it’s the right moment for this to happen, for ministries to be merged. I believe the Government is working very well. I don’t believe mergers or other kinds of things must be done within the Government. I believe, as a member of Government I confirm, that at this hour the Government is functioning very well. (Interviewer: In its current structure?) In its current structure,” Deputy PM Paul Stanescu said.
In what concerns an extraordinary conference, Stanescu said: “At this moment I say it’s not called for. Because there are no reasons.”
According to the party’s statute, the party’s leadership team – vice presidents and the party’s executive president, the one who would take over the party in case Liviu Dragnea resigns or is sentenced to jail – can be elected at the party conference.
The PSD President is uninominally elected by all party members, and that is how he can also be dismissed.
PSD might announce at the party congress who will be its candidate in the presidential elections scheduled at the end of 2019. PSD Deputy Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu stated on Thursday, for Antena3, that the party’s territorial branches want to know the presidential candidate as early as now. “All PSD members from across the country are waiting to see who will fight Iohannis. We want to staunchly defend our candidate from the deep state’s attacks,” Stefanescu added.
Catalin Ivan on PSD congress: It’s more likely to see Dragnea in Madagascar than him tendering his resignation before party members
“It’s more likely to see Dragnea in Madagascar than coming before party members to tender his resignation,” said MEP Catalin Ivan, who became persona non-grata for the party’s leadership after he levelled criticism against the PSD leader.
“I’ve seen several attempts to bring up for public discussion the idea of an extraordinary PSD conference and I believe several observations on this topic are important,” the MEP wrote on his Facebook page.
Catalin Ivan states that such a strategy is proposed by some foreign consultants, the purpose being to solidify Liviu Dragnea’s position in the party and to finish off for good any form of opposition.
“The principle ‘winner takes all’ or its communist variant – ‘you don’t agree with the boss, you are against the party’ – still operates in Romania. Such a strategy would have had chances of success, even if minimal, if Dragnea was a courageous leader. A man who uses middlemen for anything, whether in business or politics, all his important decisions having been announced by others, a man who has undertaken no direct fight with anyone, preferring to make himself useful, to play the role of a friend and then to push his opponent down a flight of stairs, such a man is far from having the profile for such a strategy,” the MEP says.
Catalin Ivan also states that he finds it more likely to see Dragnea in Madagascar than for Dragnea to come before all party members once again and place his mandate on the table, asking for their votes all over again.
“This time he would definitely face competition and topics that neither Liviu Dragnea nor the few people around him want to answer would be open for discussion,” Ivan wrote.
Ivan: At Monday meeting, NatExCom members should ask Dragnea to step down from PSD’s helm
PSD MEP Catalin Ivan claims that during the meeting on Monday the members of the party’s National Executive Committee (NatExCom) should ask Liviu Dragnea to resign from the helm of the party and should demand the urgent holding of an extraordinary party congress.
In a Facebook posting, Catalin Ivan deems that the Monday meeting of PSD’s National Executive Committee (NatExCom) is a good moment for a review of the first year of governance, and that an assessment of party leader Liviu Dragnea would be necessary.
“Tomorrow’s National Executive Committee meeting, if it were representative and if it were to listen to the party members’ discontent and worries, should discuss this. A statutory and responsible ExCom should have asked Liviu Dragnea to resign and should have urgently organised an Extraordinary Congress. However, this won’t happen. Nevertheless, even so, 2018 will be the year we will part ways with Liviu Dragnea,” the PSD MEP considers.
Catalin Ivan states that, while the governing platform has fallen apart, Dragnea’s personal agenda “was pursued with great care and determination.”
“2017 was the year in which Dragnea tried to grab hold of absolute power in Romania, to get rid of criminal dossiers, to put in a safe place the wealth he obtained from obvious corruption crimes, to get rid of any trace of opposition within the party and, basically, to ensure his freedom, regardless of costs. 2017 has meant Romania’s complete international isolation, its inclusion on the black list of countries with fragile democracies, with grave backsliding from the principles of the rule of law, with falling foreign investments, with an accentuation in the depopulation phenomenon, with almost inexistent public investments, with increasingly dissatisfied social categories, with a local administration left without its own resources and, basically, in the impossibility of supporting local development projects, without European funds tapped,” Catalin Ivan wrote.
He also reminds the fact that democracy has been eliminated from the party, while entire PSD branches have been dissolved. “Those who got away from the vigilant eye of internal censorship feel profound embarrassment before their family, neighbours, friends, acquaintances, because they must endorse the actions of a character as sinister as he is deleterious for all, but especially for the future of our children and grandchildren. PSD has become a pariah at European level and an ever-growing number of voices are asking for its isolation or even removal from the European family,” MEP Catalin Ivan added.
Doina Pana has resigned from the Government .Who will take the portfolio of the Ministry of Waters and Forests?
Tudose Government remained without one of its ministers at the beginning of this year. Doina Pana waived the portfolio of the Ministry of Waters and Forests, invoking health reasons.
“There is tiredness in any position, indeed, but as a minister, it becomes chronic at a certain moment. I thought a lot, I took a difficult decision. It wasn’t easy for me, I thought at it for several weeks and I appreciated that it’s the right decision” stated the resigning minister for Digi24.
“I also had talks with the Prime-Minister and with the Chairman of the party and I was honored that both of them asked me to take a leave and not to resign. But I appreciate that one of the few positions where you cannot afford not to function one hundred percent is the minister position, so I appreciate that I took the right decision” Doina Pana added.
She announced her resignation on the 3rd of January.
“My heath condition doesn’t allow me to continue my activity as a minister anymore. Therefore, I present you my resignation as the Minister of Waters and Forests, due to health reasons.
I appreciate the very fruitful collaboration we had and I assure you of my entire support in fulfilling the government program as a parliamentarian” reads the text through which Pana announced her resignation, according to a press release of the Government.
“We bring to your knowledge that today, January 3 2017, Mrs. Adriana Doina Pana tendered her resignation as Minister of Waters and Forests to the Prime Minister of Romania, Mr Mihai Tudose, over health reasons,” reads the announcement made by the Ministry of Waters and Forests last Wednesday.
Doina Pana took over the mandate as Minister of Waters and Forests on June 29 2017, when she became part of the Tudose Cabinet.
She also held the same office in the Ponta III Cabinet. Thus, on March 5 2014, Doina Pana became Minister-delegate for Waters, Forests and Fisheries in the Ponta III Cabinet, her term in office ending in December 2014, following a Government reshuffle.
Doina Pana became a Social Democrat Deputy representing the Bistrita-Nasaud constituency on December 21 2016. She is Vice-President of the Committee for Environment and Ecological Balance and member of the Romanian Parliament’s Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean.
PSD’s Dragnea: Proposal for new Minister of Waters to be set out within PSD’s National Executive Committee
The proposal for the leadership of the Ministry of Waters and Forests, after Minister Doina Pana resigned, will be established within the National Executive Committee (CExN) of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), that is to be convened in the upcoming days, PSD Chairman Liviu Dragnea announced on Facebook.
“I thank Mrs Minister Doina Pana for her outstanding work in Romania’s Government! #ForestRadar [#RadarulPadurilor], #Forest Code [Codul #Silvic], the decrease of illegal deforestation, all these and many more would not have been possible without Mrs Minister’s involvement! The proposal for the new minister will be established within the National Executive Committee, which will be convened in the upcoming days,” Dragnea wrote on Facebook.
According to governmental sources, Prime Minister Mihai Tudose is set to send the proposal for the Ministry of Waters and Forests office to President Klaus Iohannis this week.
Andronescu: There are enough options for replacement, I’m not worried because I know PSD’s resources
After Doina Pana’s announcement on her resignation from the Government, the former minister Ecaterina Andronescu stated that she talked to her before and that the decision on the resignation was taken before the holidays.
“I knew about it. I talked to her before the holidays, when the Parliament was debating on the budget, and she already took this decision. I am truly sorry, because she did very important things at the Ministry of Waters and Forests” stated the PSD Senator Ecaterina Andronescu for Digi24.
Asked if she knew who will take Dona Pana’s place in Mihai Tudose’s team, the PSD Senator answered: “There are definitely many options, and I’m not worried about this. I am making this statement knowing PSD’s resources”.