Romanian elections: we know the government but not the Prime Minister

ROBERT GHEMENT

Liviu Dragnea, the leader of Social Democracy Party (PSD), speaks after first exit polls results were announced, at PSD party headquarters in Bucharest, Romania, 11 December 2016. Romanians voted today for a new parliament. According to the first exit polls, PSD is leading with 45.8 percent followed by PNL (National Liberal Party) with 20.8 percent and USR (Save Romania Union) with 9.2 percent.

Romanian elections: we know the government but not the Prime Minister


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Romania has an apparent government but a less apparent Prime Minister.

On Sunday’s Parliamentary elections the clear winner was the Social Democratic Party (PSD). They secured 46% of the vote and along with their junior coalition partners – the Liberal Democratic Alliance – they hold a 52% majority.

The Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) will announce the final results on either Thursday of Friday. The new Parliament should convene next week.

Then Romania should have a Prime Minister. But, who will that be? The President must nominate a Prime Minister by the 22nd of July. The Prime Minister will then elect a government that must come to office on December 30th.

The President of the Republic, Klaus Iohannis, has made abundantly clear he will not nominate the leader of the Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea, who is serving two years for electoral fraud. Dragnea was convicted in April on an electoral fraud charge. Apparently, a tribunal found him guilty of cheating in the referendum to impeach the former President Traian Basescu in 2012.

There are now two scenarios.

First, the PSD moves for a standoff with the President, insisting in Dragnea becoming the Prime Minister. The PSD and ALDE may propose Dragnea and hold their ground. However, that would, in fact, be illegal, because the Prime Minister cannot have a criminal record. And then Dragnea would have to go to Brussels and travel abroad as the illegal, albeit legitimate, Prime Minister.

Second, Dragnea may come to an understanding with a Prime Minister who he will be able to advise, rather closely. The choice of that someone will not be an easy one.

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