Liviu Dragnea has been reconfirmed as the omnipotent leader of the Social Democratic Party, but the problems of the main ruling party have not gone away
A fragile peace reigns over the Social Democratic Party, the main party in the leftist government in Bucharest, after its leader Liviu Dragnea convincingly won the confidence vote he requested from his colleagues in the Executive Committee on Friday evening. The meeting had been prefaced by an open letter penned by leading figures in the party calling for Dragnea’s resignation, including as speaker of the Chamber of Deputies. In what looked like a genuine political indictment, the Bucharest mayor Gabriela Firea, the deputy prime minister Paul Stanescu and the former defence minister Adrian Tutuianu said Dragnea’s legal situation had become the party’s major vulnerability ahead of the European and presidential elections next year and the local and legislative elections in 2020.
The signatories to the letter also called on the prime minister and the party’s executive president Viorica Dancila to act as interim leader of the party until a new congress is held. Given a suspended prison sentence in one case, Dragnea is now waiting for a final sentence in another. He says, however, that these are politically motivated cases and that the investigations were conducted in a most unprofessional way, which, he says, can happen to any Romanian citizen. Comforted by Friday’s vote, Dragnea says he doesn’t want to see another party leadership meeting to discuss anything but important problems.
The most vocal and visible of his challengers, Gabriela Firea believes, however, that the most important win of Friday’s meeting was that the party was able, for the first time, to discuss its problems openly, sincerely and with logical arguments. The Social Democrats now all expect two weeks of complete harmony until the referendum to redefine family on the 6th and 7th of October, which was called with the support of the Social Democratic Party and most parliamentary parties.
The possible reshuffle of the Dancila cabinet could only be discussed afterwards, which commentators believe would be an excellent opportunity to get rid of deputy prime minister Stanescu as revenge for his criticism of Dragnea. Moreover, commentators also say, on the 8th of October, immediately after the referendum, Liviu Dragnea faces a new and possible decisive term in his corruption trial at the High Court.
For the former Romanian president Traian Basescu, today a senator of the small People's Movement Party, “Firea, Stanescu and Tutuianu have the great merit of leaving the opposition and the media a signed political document that can be used to attack the Social Democratic Party and which has weakened” Dragnea. The media says this is some small consolation for the opposition parties, the National Liberal Party, the Save Romania Union and the People’s Movement Party, which are yet unable to agree even on when to file a no-confidence motion against the government formed by the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats. (Translated by C. Mateescu; edited by D. Vijeu)