President Klaus Iohannis on Friday stated after the meeting of the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT) that he signed a decree by which he prolonged the mandate of General Nicolae Ciuca as Chief of Defence Staff, specifying at the same time that the proposal made by the Minister of Defence, Gabriel Les, was rejected.
“This proposal made by the Minister of Defence does not observe the rigors of the law. As a result, the CSAT did not approve the Defence Minister’s request, a very unpleasant situation, which shows once again, as if needed, that the PSD [Social Democratic Party] is not able to handle the big problems concerning our country. So the situation is that we basically have no proposal valid for the person who will take over the position of Chief of the General Staff of the Army. General Ciuca’s mandate ends on December 31. Romania cannot remain without the head of the Army. This situation generated by PSD’s incompetence has to be solved. After the CSAT meeting, we have solved it. I made the decision and signed and sent for publication the decree extending the mandate of the Chief of the General Staff of the Army General Ciuca,” Iohannis said in a press statement at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
He mentioned that Nicolae Ciuca is “a competent soldier who enjoys recognition and has the most beautiful results”.
“It would have been better to find this solution quicker, but I still believe that the Romanian Army needs to know who is leading it and how,” the President said.
On December 19, the Minister of National Defence, Gabriel Les, announced that he would not extend the mandate of Nicolae Ciuca to the Chief of Staff of the Defence.
“The law provides for a four-year mandate with the possibility of prolonging this mandate. From what I saw in the archives of the Ministry of National Defence, there was the only one situation where the mandate of a former head of the Defence Staff, the Chief of the General Staff, as it was caled back then, and we wanted to maintain the same habit (…) I know how much he has done for the Romanian Army and what he can still do. (…) His mandate ends on 31 December,” Les told a television channel.
DefMin Les says President hasn’t argued in CSAT meeting rejection of Chief of Staff proposal
National Defence Minister Gabriel Les said President Klaus Iohannis didn’t explain in the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT) meeting on Friday the reason for which he did not accept his proposals for filling in some leadership positions in the Army, among which that of the Defence Chief of Staff.
“All the proposals I have made, including for the new Defence Chief of Staff, have been rejected, without any argument from the President. I see he is getting us used to this manner… According to the Article 5 of law 346, at the National Defence Minister’s proposal, with the approval of the Prime Minister, the new Defence Chief of Staff is appointed for 4 years, with an extension possibility,” Les told Antena 3 private television broadcaster.
He pointed out that his proposal for the leadership of the Defence Chief of Staff was General Dumitru Scarlat, who represents Romania to NATO and the EU. According to Les, the head of state would have told him in the CSAT meeting that he didn’t want “to move people from one place to another, as they are doing a good job where they are.”
From the perspective of the Defence Ministry, Les underscored, General Ciuca’s mandate expires on 31 December, his powers being taken over by the substitute.
The Minister announced he would come up with a new proposal for the Defence Chief of Staff position and he would verify the legality of the decree announced by President Klaus Iohannis under which he extended General Ciuca’s mandate.
Gabriel Les announces Chief of Staff’s attributions to be delegated to his deputy
Minister of National Defence Gabriel Les considers that the decision of President Klaus Iohannis to extend the mandate of General Nicolae Ciuca as Chief of Staff “is without legal support”, underlining that the powers of the General Staff chief will be delegated to his deputy.
Gabriel Les told AGERPRES that such a decision cannot be adopted without a proposal from the Minister of Defense and an opinion from the Prime Minister.
“How can he issue a decree without the Minister of Defense’s proposal and without the Prime Minister’s approval?” The Defence Ministry will make a new proposal and give attributions to the deputy,” Les said, adding he would make a new proposal to the president.
PM Dancila: Decree to lengthen Chief of Staff head’s mandate disobeys law, could trigger constitutional conflict
Prime Minister Viorica Dancila on Friday said that President Klaus Iohannis has no quality to lengthen mandate of the Chief of Staff’s head, specifying that the decree announced by the president of Romania does not observe the legal conditions and triggers the premises of a constitutional judicial conflict.
“As regards the CSAT (Supreme Council for Country’s Defence, ed. n.) meeting today, according to provisions of Law 346 / 2006 on the organisation and functioning of the National Defence Ministry (MApN), the president has no quality to lengthen the mandate of the Chief of Staff. Both the nomination and the possible prolongation of the mandate is done only at the proposal of the Defence minister, with the opinion of the prime minister, and during today’s reunion the possibility of such prolongation was not addressed. Therefore, we believe that the decree announced by the president does not observe the legal conditions and creates the premises of a constitutional judicial conflict,” Dancila said at the beginning of the Gov’t sitting.