Romania’s ruling parties fail to agree on government reshuffle

By bne IntelliNews February 18, 2014

Romania’s senior ruling party PSD refuses to accept the request of its junior partner PNL for the appointment of Klaus Iohannis as an interior minister and vice-PM, PM Victor Ponta [PSD] confirmed in an interview for Antena 1 TV station.

The two parties have maintained their conflicting positions during the talks held on Feb 17.  The disagreements go deeper into the cooperation of the two parties, though.

PSD is ready to accept a solution, including appointing Iohannis as finance minister and vice-PM, as long as it does not require a validation vote in parliament. Changing the structure of the government, such as to give the interior minister [instead of the finance minister] the vice-PM seat, however, requires such a validation by lawmakers.

In its turn, PNL’s president Crin Antonescu is forced by his party to take increasingly radical positions against its senior partner, Adevarul daily reported. During internal discussions held also on Feb 17, there were some scenarios considered by top party members regarding the replacement of Antonescu as party leader. Such a scenario is still remote, but the internal pressures narrow Antonescu’s room of manoeuvre in the negotiations with the ruling party.

Meanwhile, the public administration works smoothly - PNL's Antonescu claimed in an interview for B1 TV station where he also expressed a broad array of criticism against his party's senior partner PSD.

Such a smooth functioning [unusual even in the absence of political turbulence] would however be rather surprising. The current political uncertainty is in fact likely to have a major impact on the government's operations at lower levels, particularly in the context of rising competition for shrinking discretionary public funds available for the visibly excessive number of projects started by the local administration.

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