Social Democratic Party (PSD) leaders held their first meeting this year on Monday, the topics on the agenda including the Government reshuffle, the convening of an extraordinary party congress and the modification of the PSD Statute. Before the meeting, Premier Mihai Tudose met several ministers who are members of PSD, as well as local party leaders, including Marian Oprisan, Adrian Tutuianu, Marcel Ciolacu, and Felix Stroe. When arriving at the PSD headquarters, Premier Mihai Tudose stated that he maintains his opinion according to which a Government reshuffle is needed, an idea backed by several Social Democrats, including Nicolae Badalau and Marian Oprisan, but rejected by others who claim that continuity is needed at the level of the Government and it is not the time “for PSD to start the reshuffle.”
Dragnea still supports PM Tudose, no extraordinary PSD congress is necessary
PSD Chair Liviu Dragnea said on Monday he is still supporting Prime Minister Mihai Tudose and that no extraordinary party congress is necessary.
Asked before the start of the meeting of the PSD National Executive Committee if there is a need for government reshuffle, given that there were many pieces information on this topic, Dragnea replied: “I have seen them too.”
On the other hand, asked whether he remains prime minister after the meeting of National Executive Committee, the PSD leader said: “I support him”.
Liviu Dragnea mentioned, when asked by journalists, that he is not afraid that he will lose his office at a party’s extraordinary congress, adding that no such meeting is needed.
When he entered the PSD seat, a person at the gate of the building shouted to Dragnea “Criminal! Go to prison,” to whom the chair of the social-democrats replied, “I missed you”.
Asked if he backs a Government reshuffle, Premier Mihai Tudose stated: “I maintain my opinion.”
PSD Vrancea President Marian Oprisan stated, on his arrival, that PSD is a ruling party and has great responsibilities, and this is what should be discussed at the meeting, claiming that a “total reshuffle” is needed.
“I had some governmental issues to discuss with the Premier, issues concerning the county. (…) But it must be discussed because PSD holds the governance and it must carry it through, and for this a total reshuffle is needed. In order to carry the governance platform to completion, we need a total reshuffling of the central administration and implicitly of the Government. The central apparatus is very burdened, and it must be rendered efficient to keep the promises we made before Romanians,” Marian Oprisan stated.
In her turn, former minister Rovana Plumb stated, on her arrival, that during this period it is essential to ensure “good governance,” that “confrontations and competitions” should be dropped, and that this is not the time for a reshuffle.
“Our main objective today is to ensure good governance,” Rovana Plumb stated.
She said confrontation exists in any political party and “there has always been competition in PSD’s history, which is healthy for democracy.”
“At this moment however, we must ensure good governance. We should leave confrontations and competitions for another time. Now is not the time to start a reshuffle,” the ex-minister emphasised.
Asked whether the current Cabinet can ensure good governance, Rovana Plumb answered: “Of course.”
In her turn, Ecaterina Andronescu said it is the Premier’s right to ask for the reshuffling of the Government and emphasised she does not accept there being “blunt groups” within PSD.
“I don’t accept there being blunt groups within the PSD. I believe Romania must be united around a national project. It’s the Premier’s right [to ask for a reshuffle],” Andronescu stated.
Dragnea says CExN meeting discusses reshuffle, but not assessment of ministers
Social Democratic Party’s (PSD) leader Liviu Dragnea on Monday said that, although the Social Democrats discussed about a possible government reshuffle at the meeting of the National Executive Committee, there was no mention about an assessment of the activity of the ministers.
“I still agree with what I said on several occasions last year and in the last two shows this year. We have been talking for a few months that in January, after 2017 ends, we will have to analyze first of all the decision flow within such ministries with delays in approvals, so as to identify what measures might help the government work even better than it did in 2017. And I also said that one of the measures could be a government restructuring or a government reshuffle, but not as our only option, for we could also just rethink the flow of administrative decision within the ministries instead. What we discussed today is that we are actually going to discuss, maybe at the next Executive Committee, and maybe with our ALDE [the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats] partners too, on this topic, since for a government restructuring there is also need for a vote in Parliament,” Dragnea said after the CExN meeting, when asked whether he agreed with a government restructuring.
He also mentioned that no assessment of the ministers was discussed.
“It takes a longer period of time to assess the activity of each minister. We hope to receive the assessment made for the secretaries of state we discussed in Sucevita,” said Dragnea.
Dragnea also added that there is no tension between him and Prime Minister Mihai Tudose.
PM Tudose says won’t give up on Gov’t restructuring
Prime Minister Mihai Tudose said on Monday evening, in the end of the meeting of the Social Democratic Party’s (PSD) National Executive Committee (CExN) that he won’t give up on restructuring the government, specifying he will table it at the CExN meeting in northeastern Iasi due at the end of January.
“Restructuring could not have taken place today. Today I have launched the topic. It will be addressed in the PSD’s Executive Committee’s meeting at the end of the month in Iasi,” said Tudose.
Quizzed whether he waives the idea to restructure gov’t, the Executive’s head said: “I’m not giving it up, I’ll table it in detail at the party’s CExN in Iasi, at the end of January.”
The Government reshuffle topic grabbed the headlines last week, following the statements made by PSD Executive President Niculae Badalau, who said that the Government might be reshuffled in order to consist of 16-17 ministries, down from the current 24. He also deemed it necessary to hold a party conference. In response, Deputy Premier Paul Stanescu stated that a party conference would not be a good solution and that the Tudose Government should not be reshuffled.
At the end of last year, PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated that a discussion on the potential need to modify the structure of the Government will take place in January. In what concerns the reshuffling of the members of the Cabinet, Dragnea pointed out he has no element telling him that a certain minister must be reshuffled. He declared himself satisfied with the activity of Premier Mihai Tudose.
“Next year, we must see whether the shape of the Government is the best, whether there is a need to proceed with a Government reshuffle. If there is or there isn’t,” Dragnea told RomaniaTV, adding that he agreed with the Premier and with ALDE President Calin Popescu Tariceanu that he will discuss with the members of the Government in January, in order to see whether such an overture is necessary or not.
A day later, Premier Mihai Tudose stated that an assessment will take place in January, but one covering not only the Government but the level of all decision-making areas, including the heads of agencies, the secretaries of state, and the members of boards of directors. He stated that efficiency-boosting measures will be taken. “There will be a discussion within the coalition, focusing not necessarily on the Cabinet but on all those tasked with taking decisions, implementing decisions, starting with the heads of agencies, secretaries of state, members of boards of directors, of general assemblies of shareholders,” Tudose said when asked whether an assessment of the Government will take place in January. He pointed out that “efficiency-boosting measures” will definitely be taken.
Moreover, PSD Deputy Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu launched the idea of modifying the PSD Statute in what concerns the integrity criteria.
“The change would be very simple: until you receive a final conviction you will not lose your capacity as leader, nor the office you hold or the capacity as party member. We are very sympathetic with our colleagues who have this sort of things happening to them. There were times when we had almost 94 percent of PSD mayors involved in some form of ANI [National Integrity Agency] or DNA [National Anticorruption Directorate] investigation. There was simply a wrath concerning our colleagues,” Codrin Stefanescu told Digi24.
On the other hand, ex-Defence Minister Adrian Tutuianu, president of PSD Dambovita, levelled criticism against the party leader.
“I probably bothered certain colleagues, very many or some of them holding decision-making power, including the party president. He probably had some discontent given the fact that I was very visible, appreciated by both those with whom I was working within the ministry and by the national press, which levelled no criticism against me in relation to the ministry. It’s a stage, it’s a school. In two months’ time I completed a national defence M.A. and it’s very useful in outlining my profile as political and administrative leader. It’s a stage in which I learned that in politics hard work is not the only thing that matters, sometimes it matters more to interact with the others, to allocate more time to human relations,” Adrian Tutuianu stated in a show broadcast by the ColumnaTV local broadcaster, according to news.ro.
Mihai Chirica: Extraordinary party congress needed; PSD should make an intelligent move and replace its leadership
The Social Democratic Party (PSD) needs an extraordinary party congress that would follow the party statute from the standpoint of a party member, not of the unique leader, Iasi Mayor Mihai Chirica, member of PSD, told RFI. He opined that PSD has competent and highly-visible members that could rebuild the party’s leadership structure.
“First of all, it should be a meeting reviewing the year that has just ended, one in which we would realistically see what could have been done, what wasn’t done properly, and what would be the steps to take in 2018 and in the following years.
“Why not, I believe the future of this party and whether it can still carry on with the leadership structure it has today is an issue that should be brought up increasingly early, if one can put it this way. (…) Considering what is happening with the large masse of Romanians, regarding the confidence they have in Parliament and the Government, being known that both democratic structures are now confused with the majority party, the majority structure, PSD+ALDE, of course, it should cause great worry and PSD, as Romania’s largest party, should now make an intelligent move if we can put it like this and should replace its leadership, so that it could recover the steps lost in 2017,” the Iasi Mayor said.
Asked who could replace PSD’s current leadership, Mihai Chirica said: “There are competent and highly-visible people in the party, who could rebuild PSD’s leadership structure, which is gravely damaged, we believe. It has very clearly fractured in at least two camps in what concerns the political decision of this great party whose member I also am.”
Likewise, asked whether an extraordinary party conference would be called for, Chirica answered: “Yes, but there should be an extraordinary conference that would follow the party’s statute from the standpoint of a party member, not that of the unique leader, because if the strength of the party member continues to be abandoned under the auspices of unilateral leadership, of a maximum leader, the extraordinary congress would only serve to solidify the wrong road we are on today instead of reforming it.”
Ponta: I won’t comment PSD situation, because it’s pointless. I’ve seen this movie so many times
Ex-Premier Victor Ponta states he will not comment the PSD situation because it is pointless and he has seen this movie so many times, back when Liviu Dragnea expressed his support for Sorin Grindeanu, Adrian Tutuianu, Catalin Ivan, Valeriu Zgonea and him.
“Many people of good faith are asking me why I’m not publicly commenting what is happening inside PSD these days – because it’s pointless, I’ve seen this movie so many times that I only feel sadness and disappointment!” Victor Ponta wrote on his Facebook page.
“Dragnea announces today that he backs Tudose / he similarly backed Grindeanu too / and Tutuianu / and Catalin Ivan / and Zgonea / and… and… and… / oh yes!!! He was backing me too,” Ponta added.
Four protesters detained by gendarmes outside PSD HQ
Four protesters, journalist Malin Bot among them, were detained by gendarmes on Monday, outside the PSD headquarters where the party’s Executive Committee meeting was taking place. One protester spent almost half an hour up in a tree, but eventually got down and was taken to the police precinct.
The protesters claim that the gendarmes committed an abuse, that they had no right to take them to the precinct against their will considering that they did show the gendarmes their IDs.
When gendarmes tried to take Malin Bot to their car he held on to a street sign which fell as a result.
Gendarmerie: Persons taken in were causing a public nuisance outside the PSD HQ and their protest was not legal
The Gendarmerie points out that the persons who were detained at the PSD headquarters were causing a public nuisance because they had sound-magnifying equipment and their protest was not legal, namely it was not declared and green-lighted.
According to the Gendarmerie, a different protest had been green-lighted for that area, a protest whose organiser did not agree with the presence of the other persons and who asked that they be removed.
“Four persons were taken to the police precinct in order to be fined (persons who commit contraventional acts that by their very nature disturb public peace and order are removed from the area),” the Gendarmerie also points out.