The Education Minister has resigned

the education minister has resigned A new minister has left the left-wing government in Bucharest


The education portfolio in the cabinet made up of the Social Democratic Party-the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats is vacant, after the relevant minister Valentin Popa stepped down on Thursday. Actually, his name had already been mentioned for a prospective government reshuffle, likely to be made next month. An engineer, professor, rector of Suceava University in the north-east, Popa was sworn in at the start of the year, when a cabinet was formed by his Social-Democrat colleague, Viorica Dăncilă. He is the second minister to resign, after research minister Nicolae Burnete discretely made public his decision to step down on August 31, without however detailing the reasons behind his decision. 


The press has however speculated that Burnete was allegedly discontented about the insufficient funds allotted to his domain and that he was among those envisaged for a possible reshuffle. In exchange, Popa's resignation has stirred rumours. In Transylvania, central Romania, which is home to the largest Hungarian community in Romania, of up to 1.2 million people, ethnic Hungarian teachers had gone on a token strike. They had made public their decision to go ahead with their protest until the suspension of a government decision stipulating that Romanian language course in primary schools with tuition in Hungarian be given by teachers of Romanian. The leader of the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania, UDMR, Kelemen Hunor, has put the issue on UDMR's agenda and called for Popa's resignation. Until then, he has warned, the parliamentary cooperation protocol between the Union and the majority made up of the Social Democratic Party-the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats remains suspended. 


The Romanian language and Romania do not make the object of negotiations, Popa responded, saying that he stepped down precisely because he does not agree with UDMR's request to change the government decision. In exchange, Kelemen Hunor says that tendering his resignation was the right decision, adding that Popa should assume responsibility for the consequences produced by the measures he had taken and which created confusion among tens of thousands of pupils, teachers and parents. 


In turn, the president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, has said he does not know the reasons behind the resignation and added however that the UDMR leader had already told him about his discontent over the teaching of the Romanian language in classes with tuition in the Hungarian language. The National Liberal Party, in opposition, claims the minister's resignation is not an act of honour, but one showing incompetence and weakness and that his successor will take over a difficult mission. Analysts believe the reasons behind Popa's resignation are purely mathematical. 


Over the past 20 years, thanks to its 6% presence in the Romanian Parliament, UDMR has frequently been included in the coalition cabinets in Bucharest, be they of right or left wing orientation. And when it is not in power, the Union usually votes alongside the Power. Against this backdrop, for the Social-Democratic leader of the coalition, Liviu Dragnea, the ethnic Hungarian MPs' votes might become vital, at a time when more and more people are leaving the party ranks. Therefore, pundits say it is not by chance that Popa tendered his resignation soon after having a private talk with Dragnea. 

(Translated by D. Vijeu)



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Publicat: 2018-09-28 12:22:00
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