Romania is left without a Prime Minister, again

ROBERT GHEMENT

(FILE) - Romania's Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu makes a statement at Government Headquarters in Bucharest, 14 June 2017, (reissued 18 June 2017). The ruling party PSD (Social Democracy Party) withdrew political support for Grindeanu governemnt on June 14, after six months activity. PSD leader Liviu Dragnea stated that Sorin Grindeanu and his team had failed to respect the party's governing program, and he has not have anymore the party support. Grindeanu defended his cabinet announcing he will no resign if PSD party leader Liviu Dragnea will not resign on his turn. PSD rushed on 18 June 2017 to push a no-confidence vote in Parliament against Grindeanu cabinet. Romanian Parliament members will cast their ballots for the no-confidence vote against Grindeanu cabinet on 21 June 2017.

Romania is left without a Prime Minister, again


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Against expectations, the Romanian Social Democrats managed to oust their own appointee, Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu.

Last week, the 68-member Central Committee of the PSD stripped Grideanu of his party membership, whilst his cabinet ministers refused to cooperate with him. The 43-year old was put forward as a candidate prime minister because the leader of the PSD, Liviu Dragnea, is serving a suspended two-year sentence for electoral fraud.

Mr Grindeanu lost the vote of confidence by 241 votes to 10; the motion needed 233 to pass. There were to keys to his ousting. First, the junior coalition Liberal partners of the government, ALDE, opted to abstain rather that support Grideanu. Secondly, the PSD proved managed to effectively whip its parliamentary group, which was expected to fracture among supporters and opponents of Grideanu.

When Grindeanu was appointed in December 2016, he was expected to act as a puppet prime minister and fall in line with the political demands of Dragnea. Instead, the prime minister and the leader of the PSD fell out, as Romania became the fastest growing economy in the EU while the prime minister apparently failed to defend his party against allegations of corruption; meanwhile, he apparently also tried to create his own power base within the Socialist Party, mainly through an alliance with the former leader of the Socialist Party, Victor Ponta.

President Klaus Iohannis must now nominate a new Prime Minister, which inevitably means the PSD will need to find a new candidate that is not threatening to Liviu Dragnea.

epa06040769 Liviu Dragnea (C), the president of the Romanian Parliament's Deputies Chamber, also the leader of the main ruling party PSD (Social Democracy Party) smiles after the no-confidence vote against Sorin Grindeanu cabinet ended, at Parlament Palace in Bucharest, Romania, 21 June 2017. Grindeanu cabinet was ousted by a no-confidence vote in which 241 lawmakers from a total of 251 voted against his government. The ruling party PSD (Social Democracy Party) withdrew political support for Grindeanu governemnt on 14 June, after six months activity. PSD leader Liviu Dragnea stated that Sorin Grindeanu and his team had failed to respect the party's governing program, and he does not have the party's support. Grindeanu defended his cabinet announcing he will not resign unless PSD party leader Liviu Dragnea resign. EPA/ROBERT GHEMENT

Liviu Dragnea (C), the president of the Romanian Parliament’s Deputies Chamber, also the leader of the main ruling party PSD (Social Democracy Party) smiles after the no-confidence vote against Sorin Grindeanu cabinet ended, at Parlament Palace in Bucharest, Romania, 21 June 2017.  The ruling party PSD (Social Democracy Party) withdrew political support for Grindeanu government on 14 June, after six months activity. PSD leader Liviu Dragnea stated that Sorin Grindeanu and his team had failed to respect the party’s governing program, and he does not have the party’s support. Grindeanu defended his cabinet announcing he will not resign unless PSD party leader Liviu Dragnea resign. EPA/ROBERT GHEMENT

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