Fourth minister leaves Romanian technocratic government

Fourth minister leaves Romanian technocratic government
By bne IntelliNews May 10, 2016

Romanian Healthcare Minister Patriciu Achimas Cadariu resigned on May 9 following a series of scandals that culminated in early May with media investigations revealing large-scale frauds in public acquisitions over the past ten years at least. Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos will act as interim minister of health until a replacement is appointed.

Cadariu is the fourth minister to leave Ciolos’ cabinet of technocrats in less than one month. Halfway though its year in office, the government has so far failed to deliver any relevant reform and its attempts to streamline the functioning of the public administration have faced staunch resistance.  

On May 6, Ciolos instructed the healthcare minister to investigate the situation related to the disinfectants used in hospitals, after a scandal was prompted by investigations by Gazeta Sporturilor (GSP) daily.

The potential of this scandal is major, particularly since it is directly related to the 64 deaths in the Club Collectiv tragedy in 2015, which precipitated the resignation of former Prime Minister Victor Ponta and the appointment of a politically neutral cabinet. Most of the victims died not because of their burns, but because of infections caught in hospitals. This resulted in public anger that surfaced in relatively small demonstrations in Bucharest in early May.

Also within the last month, Labour Minister Ana Costea resigned after she rejected the public sector wage law drafted by her own subordinates. European Funds Minister Aura Raducu was dismissed by Ciolos for disappointing results in improving the absorption rate. Minister of Culture Vlad Alexandrescu was dismissed after he failed to address a scandal at Bucharest Opera House.

Criticisms of the government include its decision to accept the budget drafted by former ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD). It also failed to ink a public sector wage bill, failed to improve the absorption of EU funds and failed to transparently address very specific issues such as the investigations related to the causes of the deaths of babies in hospitals earlier this year or the public acquisition of disinfectants in hospitals.