The Social Democratic Party decided on a government reshuffle.
The leftist governing coalition made up of the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats – ALDE will replace the interior and foreign ministers, the Social Democratic leaders decided on Monday. The interior minister Carmen Dan will be replaced by PSD senator Nicolae Moga. Considered a close collaborator of the former Social Democratic leader Liviu Dragnea who is currently serving time in prison for corruption, Carmen Dan resigned before the party decided on her replacement, criticizing the leadership for having given in to pressures from president Klaus Iohannis. The foreign minister Teodor Melescanu will be replaced by Ramona Manescu from ALDE.
Carmen Dan and Teodor Melescanu were harshly criticized by the president for the way in which they organized the EP elections in May. Melescanu was mainly blamed for the problems encountered by the Diaspora in the voting process, as many Romanian citizens queued for many hours without being able to cast their vote. Carmen Dan was blamed for the disproportionate intervention of the gendarmes during the anti-government protests of August 2018. The PM Viorica Dancila explained that the two ministers lost their political support due to an unfavorable public perception. The new secretary general of PSD Mihai Fifor has been proposed for the position of vice prime minister for strategic partnerships.
The PSD leadership has also made another important decision with an impact on the pre-elections political landscape: they will have their own candidate for the October presidential election. They want this person to be supported by ALDE and Pro Romania, a dissident party created by the former Social Democratic PM and leader Victor Ponta. ALDE representatives feel somehow betrayed in their aspirations and replied that they would support their own leader Calin Popescu Tariceanu, who is perceived as a powerful common candidate even by some PSD members. PSD is to designate its presidential candidate next week.
According to commentators, a big party needs its own candidate in the presidential election, but none of them can identify one with real chances to defeat the big favorite in the race, the incumbent president Klaus Iohannis. From this perceptive, things are crystal clear for the National Liberal Party: they will support Iohannis all the way through.
A paradox in the presidential election context could be the emergence of a challenger to Iohannis that comes from the right of the political spectrum and not from the left. The congress of the Save Romania Union party- USR, in opposition, designated their leader, Dan Barna, as presidential candidate. After USR’s ally PLUS designates their candidate too, most probably Dacian Ciolos, a former technocratic prime minister, the two parties that set up a successful alliance at the EP elections, will have to designate a common candidate. USR and PLUS want to present a president-prime minister tandem for the autumn presidential election. (Translation by L. Simion)