Romanian president begins talks over new premier

By bne IntelliNews November 5, 2015

Iulian Ernst -


Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has invited the main political parties for consultations on November 5-6, after Prime Minister Victor Ponta resigned on November 4 following street protests triggered by the deadly nightclub fire last week.

As Iohannis was announcing the scheduled discussions with the top political leaders, some 35,000 demonstrators in Bucharest and thousands of others across the country’s largest cities protested against all political parties, asking for a government of technocrats to manage the country until parliamentary elections.

The incumbent ruling coalition has the parliamentary majority and the determination to stay in power, and seems ready to accept the nomination of a technocrat to run the government. However, such a compromise solution is likely to prompt further public protests if that is seen as the end of the matter. More than this is needed, President Iohannis said, implying deeper political reforms.

The early elections asked by the opposition could lead to such reforms. However, the process leading to new elections will take at least six months, and in the meantime the country would be ruled by an interim cabinet with limited capacity.

A first round of negotiations will be completed this week, Iohannis announced, implying a longer period of time needed for the evaluation of the current political situation. Iohannis must designate a prime minister candidate within 10 days, under the constitution.

“I do not want to go into technicalities today,” Iohannis stated, but promised to come up with his own evaluation of the situation and with a proposed course of action following the first round of negotiations with the political parties. The actions decided upon after the consultation will be, however, only the first step on a long road toward the normalisation of the political situation in the country, he said.

Ponta submitted his formal resignation on November 4 and proposed the nomination of Defence Minister Mircea Dusa as interim prime minister.

In a speech later in the day, Iohannis mentioned that the tragic event leading to Ponta’s resignation “touched the deepest sentiments of the people” and “turned public frustration into genuine revolt". It took people to die before this resignation, he stressed.

“One cannot assume that a mere change of the government will solve the country’s problems or those of the political class. Much more is needed. I am ready to take on the responsibility for this course of action, which, eventually, will lead to another kind of politics in Romania – a predictable and transparent citizen-oriented politics,” Iohannis said.

Iohannis, former leader of the opposition National Liberal Party (PNL), will now have a chance to take the initiative in the formation of a new ruling coalition. But the breakdown of parties in parliament and the continuing street protests against politicians of all parties make the task particularly difficult. Furthermore, the main political parties do not seem to have prepared their own strategies as yet.

The senior ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD) has said that it expects the ruling coalition to survive and will come up with a new nomination for the prime minister post. “We will go to the president with a nomination strong enough to convince President Iohannis of its majority support in parliament,” PSD president Liviu Dragnea stated. Rumours have indicated former intelligence services head George Maior, currently the Romanian ambassador to the US, or former EC commissioner Dacian Ciolos as possible nominations.

PSD’s junior partners, the National Union for Progress of Romania (UNPR) of Gabriel Oprea and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) of Calin Popescu Tariceanu, have confirmed plans to stick with PSD. Oprea - who as interior minister is blamed by demonstrators for the fire tragedy -  for said he would not be a member of the future government, but confirmed his party’s commitment to be part of the coalition.

However, the weak point of PSD’s plan is the bad name of UNPR, after the tragic events leading to Ponta’s resignation. The public anger expressed these days on the street of Romania has been oriented to a large extent towards Oprea and his party. Seen as the iconic expression of opportunistic politicians, UNPR would be expected to dramatically decrease the credibility or any ruling coalition it would be part of.  

Meanwhile the main opposition party, the National Liberal Party (PNL), announced plans to push for early elections. However, since the incumbent ruling coalition opposes such plans, early elections could be called only as a result of parliament rejecting two prime minister candidates. At this stage that scenario appears highly unlikely.

Related Articles

Macedonia kept on hold as Balkans edges towards EU goal

Clare Nuttall in Bucharest -   Macedonia’s EU accession progress remains stalled amid the country’s worst political crisis in 14 years, while most countries in the Southeast Europe region have ... more

Romania’s Dacia changes gear

Clare Nuttall in Bucharest - Automaker Dacia has been highly successful in exporting to markets across Europe and the Mediterranean area since its takeover by Renault in 1999, but the small ... more

INTERVIEW: Romania’s Fortech prepares for next growth stage

Clare Nuttall in Bucharest - In the last 12 years, Fortech has grown into one of Romania’s largest IT outsourcing companies – a home-grown contender in a market increasingly populated by ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or 12 months full access inc. Magazine and Weekly Newspaper for just $119/year.

If you have already registered, enter the information below with the same email you used previously and you will be granted immediate access.

IntelliNews Pro subscribers click here

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address. A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

Thank you for purchasing a bne IntelliNews subscription. We look forward to serving you as one of our paid subscribers. An email confirmation will be sent to the email address you have provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

If you have any questions please contact us at

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

IntelliNews Pro subscribers click here

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

If you have already registered, enter the information below with the same email you used previously and you will be granted immediate access.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address. The confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.