Cracks are starting to appear in the ruling coalition in Bucharest only three months since a categorical victory in the parliamentary elections of December 11th
The big winner of the parliamentary elections with 45% of the votes, the Social Democratic Party has been coming under increased criticism on account of its omnipotent and omnipresent leader, Liviu Dragnea. The Social Democrats’ junior partner in the ruling coalition, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, which won 6% of the votes, also appears to be on the brink of implosion.
On Sunday, one of its two co-presidents, Daniel Constantin, left the room hosting a party leadership meeting saying this was non-statutory. The meeting continued without him, with the other co-president, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, establishing that a party congress would be held after the Easter holidays in April to elect a single leader.
Constantin says the disagreements within the party are caused by the manner in which decisions are taken. He criticised, in particular, the obedience with which the party supported the Social Democrats’ uninspired initiative this winter to amend the criminal codes via emergency orders. The damage to the party’s image was enormous, because hundreds of thousands of people took to the street, accusing the government of seeking to exempt corrupt politicians from criminal accountability. Daniel Constantin:
Daniel Constantin: “I have never accepted, nor will I ever accept, that someone from outside the party I belong to should take decisions in our party with the approval of one of its co-presidents. Soon after emergency order no. 13 was issued, I called for and tried to create a mechanism to make decision-making more transparent, to allow all our colleagues to take part in the decision-making process. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a will to do it and it hasn’t been done.”
Constantin has promised not to leave the party, saying he will discuss with prime minister Sorin Grindeanu about the posts he occupies in his cabinet, that of deputy prime minister and environment minister. In response, Senate speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu has admitted that the tensions within the party date from before the elections:
Calin Popescu Tariceanu: “I was simply blackmailed by Mr Daniel Constantin about certain colleagues running on our parliamentary lists. My opposition was not to their running, but to their positions on the lists. We had a very trenchant discussion in which he told me that unless I agreed we would be in an impasse and unable to submit the lists of candidates for the parliamentary elections, meaning the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats would not function, something he said he didn’t have a problem with. At this point I made a concession so that we would be able to take part in the elections, otherwise we wouldn’t be in Parliament today.”
Parliamentary support for the current government will not be affected by the possible conflicts within the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, hopes the leader of the Social Democratic Party Liviu Dragnea. Commentators say, however, that “a new left” appears to be emerging from within the coalition, a third political entity Daniel Constantin is working on, alongside the former Social Democrat leader and prime minister Victor Ponta, who is becoming increasingly critical of his successor, Liviu Dragnea.