Romania’s former prime minister Dacian Ciolos, who headed a cabinet of technocrats in 2015-2016, has announced plans to found a political party based on his Romania 100 civic platform. Ciolos plans to be ready with his party by the next elections, “whenever they are scheduled”.
His move was backed by a couple of intellectuals like actor Victor Rebengiuc and anthropologist Vintila Mihailescu. who have high credibility among the educated centre-right electorate, which seems to be the main target of the new party. Capturing the interest of undecided, disappointed voters could help Ciolos and the centre-right opposition as a whole, but failure to do so would mean an even more divided, and hence weaker, opposition to the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD).
“We have to show people not only vision and ideology, but also what ideology results in in practice, [we have to show them] what those values and principles — which ultimately define ideology, mean in practice,” Ciolos said at a meeting of Romania 100 where he announced his plans.
Ciolos made clear that his party would not fight against those parties that “share the same DNA” — a broad definition that would include opposition parties like the National Liberal Party (PNL) and Save Romania Union (USR), but at the same time does not link the new party too closely to either of the existing parties in terms of public perception.
Ciolos campaigned for the PNL in the latest elections in December 2016, and this year he was rumoured to have joined the USR. However, he has avoided merging his civic platform with either of the two major opposition parties.
A former European Commissioner, Ciolos was picked to run a cabinet of technocrats in November 2015, after the PSD government headed by Victor Ponta following mass street protests. His performance was seen as a step toward more transparent public administration, but no critical decisions or improvement of the functioning of the administration was seen. Bucharest’s pro-cyclical fiscal policy continued and the absorption of EU funds remained weak during his brief term in office.
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