News ID: 208216
Published: 0406 GMT January 16, 2018

Romania’s ruling Social Democrats propose MEP Dancila as new premier

Romania’s ruling Social Democrats propose MEP Dancila as new premier

Romania’s ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) chose to nominate European MP Viorica Dancila as the new prime minister in a unanimous vote on Tuesday after Mihai Tudose stepped down following a row with the party leadership.

Dancila, 54, is a close ally of the powerful PSD leader Liviu Dragnea, Reuters reported.

Tudose resigned on Monday after the PSD withdrew its support for him, making him the second premier to be ousted in seven months as Romanian politics are dogged by infighting and corruption scandals.

“We voted unanimously for her. This candidacy we propose cannot be refused by the president, we wanted a person with European exposure,” a PSD leader said on condition of anonymity.

Earlier on Tuesday, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis appointed PSD member Defense Minister Mihai Fifor as interim prime minister, prompting speculation from analysts that Fifor would likely be Iohannis’ preferred replacement for Tudose.

The PSD leadership will now formally propose their nomination of Dancila to Iohannis on Wednesday. If Iohannis approves, she will have to undergo a vote of confidence in Parliament. Only if that is successful will she be appointed prime minister.

“There is now obviously a need for a government to shorten this period of uncertainty,” Iohannis said. “I want us to have a swift procedure that will lead to a new government because ... I want to avoid as much as possible potential negative economic consequences.”

Dancila is a vice-chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. Defense Minister Fifor, 47, has contributed to the acquisition of multi-billion euro military equipment and hardware to modernize Romania’s Army, including Patriot missiles from the United States.

“Given the president’s statements ... he may accept this nomination. But he may want to push further for Fifor’s case, in which I gave her a 50-50 chance to be appointed,” said independent political analyst Cristian Patrasconiu.

An oil and gas drilling engineer, Dancila was born in the same county as Dragnea and served on the Teleorman County Council when Dragnea chaired that body.

Romania posted the European Union’s highest economic growth rate in the third quarter at 8.8 percent year-on-year, but it also had the largest rate of household deprivation, Eurostat data showed, with one in two Romanians struggling to keep their home warm or pay their bills on time.

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