POLITICS

Day of the long knives in PSD. Social Democrats decide reshuffling Dancila Gov’t. Dancila II Cabinet takes shape: Who the new ministers are

Social Democratic Party (PSD)’s National Executive Committee voted on Monday, at the Palace of Parliament, to replace several members of the Government led by Viorica Dancila. The Social Democrats decided to change the leaderships of eight ministries. Prior to PSD’s ExCom meeting, Defence Minister Mihai Fifor announced his resignation from the Government. Likewise, the Committee decided that Codrin Stefanescu will be the party’s new Secretary General, following Marian Neacsu’s exclusion.

The PSD’s Executive Committee has decided what ministers will leave the Government and who their replacements will be.

Ilan Laufer – Deputy Premier and Development Minister, replacing Paul Stanescu

Gabriel Les – Defence Minister, replacing Mihai Fifor who resigned

Lia Olguta Vasilescu – Transport Minister, replacing Lucian Sova

Marius Budai – Labour Minister, replacing Lia Olguta Vasilescu

Niculae Badalau – Economy Minister, replacing Danut Andrusca

Alexandru Petrescu – Communications Minister, replacing Bogdan Cojocaru

Daniel Breaz – Culture Minister, replacing George Ivascu

Bogdan Matei – Youth and Sports Minister, replacing Ioana Bran

Codrin Stefanescu will be the party’s new Secretary General, the National Executive Committee decided on Monday.

Codrin Stefanescu will take over the office vacated following the exclusion of former PSD Secretary General Marian Neacsu.

 

Background

 

Social Democratic Party (PSD)’s National Executive Committee (NatExCom) convened on Monday, at the Palace of Parliament, the talks regarding the Government reshuffle, a topic that entered the party’s agenda as early as August, having been repeatedly postponed due to the schedule of Premier Viorica Dancila, the referendum for family and internal tensions.

As early as August 21, PSD leader Liviu Dragnea was announcing that he was dissatisfied with some ministers and that a discussion regarding the activity of the governmental team will take place in the presence of the Premier during the first NatExCom meeting.

The meeting focusing on the Government reshuffle was however postponed for more than two months, due to several reasons, such as the Head of Government’s trips abroad, the referendum on traditional family, as well as the internal tensions generated by the anti-Dragnea letter.

Another point on the agenda of PSD’s NatExCom meeting was the situation of PSD Vice President Gabriela Firea. Referring to this topic, PSD Deputy Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu stated for MEDIAFAX that it is “mandatory” for the party to settle the case of the Bucharest Mayor who “is affecting the entire party” with her statements.

 

Decisions taken by inner circle on Sunday evening at Palace of Parliament, ahead of NatExCom meeting

 

Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea and some of the leaders of county branches took part on Sunday in an informal meeting that preceded the party’s National Executive Committee (NatExCom) meeting on Monday. Premier Viorica Dancila was also present at the “social event,” party sources told MEDIAFAX.

According to the sources, the meeting featured talks on the Government reshuffle, but also on Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea’s latest political activity.

Regarding the sanctions on Gabriela Firea, House lawmaker Catalin Radulescu (PSD) stated on Sunday, for MEDIAFAX, that the party’s NatExCom should adopt on Monday a measure “as drastic as possible,” namely it should exclude the Bucharest Mayor from the party or should withdraw the party’s political support for her.

PSD Deputy Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu talked about this topic too, stating that it is “mandatory” for the party to settle the case of the Bucharest Mayor who is “affecting the entire party” with her statements.

PSD Vaslui leader Dumitru Buzatu stated on Sunday, for MEDIAFAX, that he hopes the “race of exclusions” would not continue at the NatExCom meeting on Monday, but that this also depends on what Gabriela Firea wants, pointing out that the Bucharest Mayor may lose her party membership.

On the other hand, Gabriela Firea said that she awaits her “sentence” at the PSD NatExCom meeting and that there will be no surprises in what concerns her position, since she knows that her removal from the helm of PSD Bucharest and Ilfov is “desired” because those who disagree with the PSD leader are “beheaded.”

 

Gabriela Firea resigns as acting president of PSD Bucharest

 

Ahead of the meeting in which the withdrawal of the political support for her was to be discussed, Gabriela Firea announced her resignation as acting president of PSD Bucharest, stating that the party statute should also be amended because it is not normal for an acting presidency to last two years.

“I’ve resigned as acting president of PSD Bucharest. It’s a form of protest because Mr Dragnea has blocked elections within this party branch for 2 years in order for it to be vulnerable. Maybe the statute should also be amended because no acting presidency can last for 2 years. There was a plan. (…) I was thinking, had Mr Dragnea spent as much energy as he has spent to liquidate me, we would already have had the foundations of the regional hospitals laid,” Firea added.

“The most important thing is for us to be human, and in the case of a party to be party members and then to hold offices. We know what will happen, even though the meeting hasn’t started. It’s not democratic to hold informal debates beforehand, in offices, restaurants,” Gabriela Firea stated ahead of PSD’s ExCom meeting.

She also said that the local governance programme with which she won the elections has been neglected.

“It has simply been neglected, to put it elegantly, or has been treated with indifference by Mr Dragnea, and all the promises we jointly made to Bucharesters have been kept only in what concerns the Bucharest City Hall’s prerogatives. I’m confident that Romanians, including Bucharesters, are far more intelligent than thought to be by some cynical politicians who, even before I showed up for this meeting, were relaying through middlemen the fact that only the Bucharest Mayor’s activity could be blamed for the grave problems that Bucharest is facing. It’s not true,” Firea added.

 

 

Message for Dragnea: You’ve abandoned the programme with which we won the elections

 

In the document addressed to PSD President Liviu Dragnea, Gabriela Firea writes that she is tabling her resignation as acting president of PSD Bucharest because the party has abandoned Bucharest’s large projects, such as the beltway, the subway or ELCEN.

“I consider that the political and administrative programme with whose help both the PSD and I won the local elections in Bucharest in 2016 has been abandoned. A series of central authorities have blocked or have delayed Bucharest’s large projects: the beltway, ELCEN, the subway.

“Considering the fact that, during my term as acting president of PSD Bucharest, the party branch obtained a record score, in a first: 7 mayors (the Bucharest Mayor and six Bucharest district mayors). Today, through this resignation, I put an end to the undeserved period of acting leadership at the PSD Bucharest branch and, primordially, I stop validating, through my activity, all the failures registered at the level of the central leadership that you fully endorse,” the letter reads.

Gabriela Firea also writes that her resignation is a form of protest against the two-year acting presidency of PSD Bucharest, and also against “the disinterest you have shown toward the grave problems that the Capital is facing, especially in what concerns traffic, heating.”

 

“If my party offices are taken away I won’t be affected politically but only on a human level”

 

Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea stated on Sunday evening that she does not know whether she will be sanctioned during PSD’s NatExCom meeting on Monday but that a potential loss of her offices within the party will not affect her politically but only on a human level.

“If my political offices are taken away from me, I won’t be affected. My presence within the BPN [National Standing Bureau] and ExCom haven’t brought anything good to Bucharesters. Everything that I’ve done and that I haven’t done in two years as Bucharest Mayor, I’m my own critic, I’m not saying I’ve been perfect, but everything done was done through the work of my team, unfortunately with no other support. What is the point in holding these political offices, just to boast with them? (…) I’m not saying it doesn’t affect me on a human level, you realise they are nevertheless my colleagues, I’ve been in PSD for almost 7 years, whether that’s a long or a short period of time it’s nevertheless a period of time,” Gabriela Firea stated on Sunday evening for Digi24.

Firea is PSD Vice President, acting leader of the PSD Bucharest branch and leader of the PSD Ilfov branch.

Asked for her comments on the unofficial information according to which the political support for her will be withdrawn during the NatExCom meeting on Monday, Gabriela Firea said: “Speculations. I don’t know what will happen during the Executive Committee meeting tomorrow. Last year, Mr Dragnea wanted to cut the Capital’s budget, telling persons close to him that Gabriela Firea will only handle small projects, he was saying he won’t let me handle big projects so that I won’t run in the presidential elections.”

The Bucharest Mayor added that she does not want to be excluded from the party.

“There was a question whether I do indeed want to fight for the Capital’s projects that were blocked in certain ministries with the complicity of Mr Dragnea, or whether I in fact have a political project. I’ve heard a colleague make an unfair statement according to which everything I do is a campaign to force an exclusion for an own project or for me to join a different party, to support the list in the European Parliament elections and then, in the second half of next year, to run in the presidential elections. That has never been my intention,” Firea explained.

 

Mihai Tudose: I’m against losing any colleague

 

Ex-Premier Mihai Tudose stated on Monday, ahead of PSD’s ExCom meeting, that he is against losing any colleague and will oppose exclusions. At the same time, Tudose said that a reshuffle shows that something did not go well and is no reason for joy.

“I’m against losing any colleague. I don’t agree with any colleague being excluded, I believe they should be brought in, not kicked out,” Mihai Tudose said.

In what concerns Gabriela Firea’s resignation from the helm of PSD Bucharest, Tudose said: “It’s her decision to force elections in Bucharest, because she’s acting [president].”

Concerning Defence Minister Mihai Fifor’s resignation, the ex-Premier said he regrets it. Regarding the announced reshuffles, he said: “why do you think I would be cheerful. A reshuffle means something didn’t go well.”

 

Defence Minister Mihai Fifor resigns

 

Defence Minister Mihai Fifor resigned on Monday, ahead of PSD’s National Executive Committee meeting.

“I’ve made a very serious analysis, I’ve seen what has happened in recent months and I believe I can join the team at the party, for us to try to prepare the two difficult years up ahead. I believe we need to strengthen the team and be able to prepare the important projects. I’ve asked the Prime Minister and [PSD] President Dragnea to agree with my resignation so that I would be able to go to the party and get seriously involved,” Mihai Fifor stated ahead of PSD’s National Executive Committee meeting.

Several changes within the Dancila Government were rumoured before PSD’s National Executive Committee meeting. One of them was a change at the Defence Ministry, with House Defence Committee Chairman Dorel Caprar set to replace Mihai Fifor.

On Monday morning, the rumour mill was also saying that Ilan Laufer was set to replace Paul Stanescu – one of Liviu Dragnea’s detractors – at the helm of the Development Ministry, with Stanescu set to be removed from the Dancila Cabinet.

 

PSD Ilfov organisation – dissolved by CExN; Firea resigns as deputy chair

 

The Social Democratic Party’s (PSD) National Executive Committee (CExN) on Monday decided to dissolve the PSD Ilfov organization.

Capital District 6 Mayor Gabriel Mutu was designated interim chair of PSD Bucharest, the sources pointed out.

At the same time, Gabriela Firea announced during the CExN meeting her resignation as PSD deputy chairperson. Rodica Nassar was designated to replace her.

 

Stanescu asked whether he will leave Gov’t: Please have a lot of patience

 

Asked by journalists whether he was informed by the Premier that he will be replaced, Deputy Premier Paul Stanescu stated on Monday, at the Palace of Parliament, ahead of the NatExCom meeting, that they should have “a lot of patience.”

“Be patient. We’ll talk after the Executive Committee [meeting],” Stanescu said when arriving at the party’s NatExCom meeting, when asked by journalists whether he will remain in the Government.

Asked whether Ilan Laufer, former Minister for the Business Environment, will take his place at the Development Ministry, Stanescu said: “Please have a lot of patience.”

Stanescu arrived at the NatExCom meeting accompanied by Bucharest District 3 Mayor Robert Negoita, one of those who supported the anti-Dragnea letter.

On Monday morning, ahead of the NatExCom meeting, Deputy Premier Paul Stanescu took part in talks in Liviu Dragnea’s office at the Palace of Parliament, alongside Premier Viorica Dancila and several PSD county branch leaders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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