Liviu Dragnea and Calin Popescu Tariceanu meet in PSD leader’s Parliament Palace office: Dancila Government’s makeup being negotiated
When will the new Cabinet formula be ready and who will be the Cabinet members? The public opinion is waiting for the answer to this question after the President named Viorica Dancila as Premier.
The Social Democratic Party will convene a new Executive Committee meeting on Monday, a meeting in which the party’s central and local leaders will take part in order to decide the makeup of the Dancila Government, the third PSD-ALDE Government since the elections. In recent days, PSD President Liviu Dragnea has stated loud and clear that choosing the ministers will not be the exclusive right of the Premier-designate, and that the party reserves this right for itself, just as it did in the case of the two previous Governments. The Parliament meeting in which the Government will be confirmed will be convened on January 29, namely a week later.
Consequently, the Social Democrats’ leaders and their coalition partners must decide who are the ministers who will be members of the future Government, before they are heard and confirmed in Parliament.
Thus, on Thursday, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) President Calin Popescu Tariceanu went to PSD President Liviu Dragnea’s office at the Palace of Parliament, in order to negotiate the makeup of the Dancila Government but also changes to the governance programme. The Foreign Minister and Daniel Chitoiu also took part in the meeting.
Prior to that, PSD President Liviu Dragnea met Premier-designate Viorica Dancila and other PSD leaders. Premier-designate Viorica Dancila, PSD Executive President Niculae Badalau, incumbent Deputy Premier Paul Stanescu, and Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea took part in that meeting, according to political sources quoted by Mediafax.
The Social Democrats are not nervous in this regard, since PSD and ALDE still hold the majority in Parliament, as Liviu Dragnea proved on Wednesday with a list of signatures.
After confirmation, the ministers will go to the Cotroceni Palace and take their oath of office, after which they will be able to take part in the first Government meeting at Victoria Palace.
Dancila Cabinet, a copy-paste Tudose Cabinet
In what concerns the makeup of the new Cabinet, it will have the same portfolios as the Tudose Government.
After Viorica Dancila was named as Premier, the PSD President stated that some of the previous ministers will be kept, while others will not, so there will also be new names in PSD’s third Government since it won the 2016 elections.
According to some sources, the list of ministers who will keep their portfolios includes Labour Minister Lia Olguta Vasilescu, Agriculture Minister Petre Daea, and Defence Minister – currently acting Premier – Mihai Fifor. Paul Stanescu, who replaced Sevil Shhaideh after the latter resigned because the Belina dossier was opened, will continue to head the Development Ministry.
Justice Minister Tudorel Toader also enjoys the backing of both PSD and ALDE.
In fact, Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s party has announced it will maintain its portfolios and ministers in the new Government too (Environment Minister Gratiela Gavrilescu, Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, Minister for Liaison with Parliament Viorel Ilie, Energy Minister Toma Petcu). The ALDE ministers have survived the ousting of two Prime Ministers, having been the members of both the Sorin Grindeanu and Mihai Tudose governments.
On the other hand, the ministers most likely to leave are those considered close to ex-Premier Tudose: Deputy Premier Marcel Ciolacu, Transport Minister Felix Stroe, European Grants Minister Marius Nica and Culture Minister Lucian Romascanu.
Likewise, according to Digi24, Ioan Denes will probably be one of the new ministers, after he obtained PSD’s endorsement to replace Doina Pana at the helm of the Water Resources and Forestry Ministry, as a result of Pana’s resignation on health grounds.
Other ministers at risk of being replaced are Social Dialogue Minister Gabriel Petrea, Education Minister Liviu Pop and Health Minister Florian Bodog. Ecaterina Andronescu is rumoured for the Education Ministry, while Rodica Nassar might be appointed Health Minister.
There are also ministers whose continued presence in the new Government is uncertain. Business Environment Minister Ilan Laufer, Youth and Sport Minister Marius Dunca, Tourism Minister Mircea Dobre and Finance Minister Ionut Misa.
Liviu Pop: I was politically appointed in Gov’t, I’ll leave politically when ExCom decides
Referring to a new mandate, Education Minister Liviu Pop said on Thursday that he will leave if PSD’s National Executive Committee decides so, pointing out he is not a member of Government in a personal capacity.
“The ExCom will decide this. I’m not in the Romanian Government in a personal capacity, I came here politically, I’ll leave politically when the ExCom decides. I’m not nervous in this regard, the important thing is for the governance programme to continue in the education sector just as we committed doing a little over a year ago, before the electorate,” Liviu Pop stated.
PSD wants Premier to no longer demand the vetting of ministers from a security standpoint
PSD’s NatExCom decided at its latest meeting that future PSD Premier Viorica Dancila should no longer ask the intelligence services to vet the members of Government, PSD Deputy Secretary General announced on Thursday.
“In recent years we have felt that strange things are happening, in the sense that those who win the elections and want to promote their colleagues, the more vocal they are against the deep state the more they receive negative [vetting] reports, and without explanations, and it can’t be said what the problems are because they are state secrets. We’ve pretty much had enough,” Codrin Stefanescu said, explaining the decision adopted by PSD’s NatExCom, Mediafax informs.
He said the intelligence services’ vetting is unnecessary, considering that the ministers and the Premier are at any rate held accountable before the electorate.
“We should drop this, because we are held politically accountable for what our ministers are doing. In recent years there have been horrors, there have been protocols sidestepping the law, abuses, lawbreaking,” Stefanescu emphasised.
Asked which were the aspects that formed the starting point of the talks that led to this decision, Codrin Stefanescu said: “The discussions started from all of us. Olguta Vasilescu, Serban Nicolae, Ecaterina Andronescu, Marian Oprisan and I said the same thing; Liviu Dragnea asked Viorica Dancila, and we warned her that she will be pressured, wiretapped… ‘be careful, stick with us.’ We decided that if the Premier or ministers feel pressures we should urgently convene the ExCom and make everything public.”
No vetting of future Cabinet ministers is to be asked, says PSD’s Executive Committee
The information was also confirmed by PSD Vice President Ecaterina Andronescu, who stated on Wednesday evening for the public television broadcaster that “Premier-designate Viorica Dancila will not ask any Romanian state body to vet the future members of her Cabinet.”
According to her, PSD’s National Executive Committee (NatExCom) has ruled in its last sitting that the Premier will not demand that any of the Government members be vetted.