Just hours away from the expected Parliament vote for the new Government on Friday (December 21), the ruling coalition partners in Romania seem to have issues agreeing on the divvying up of ministries.
Information surfaced in the Romanian media about an internal discussion on the PM’s decision to move the Tax Administration ANAF under his umbrella and away from the Finance Ministry, which is a portfolio held by the National Liberal Party (PNL). This sparked the disagreements between the Social Democratic Party (PSD), led by Prime Minister Victor Ponta, and the PNL, led by Crin Antonescu, recently elected president of the Senate.
Even if the PM officially said the ANAF will stay under the helm of the Finance Minister, his secret intention was to steer it his way via a Government Ordinance, according to unnamed sources quoted by Romanian media.
The PSD and PNL are still negotiating over the attributions of ministers, with fears on both sides that the coalition partner will have more control over key portfolios, such as budget, infrastructure, economy.
Hearings of proposed ministers, which should have taken place on Thursday evening (December 20 ) were delayed for Friday, which could turn the last day of the week into a political marathon for Romania: hearings of ministers in commissions in the morning, the Parliament vote at noon. If the Government passes, the ministers will most likely be sworn in during the evening, and the first Government meeting will take place on Saturday. Commentators are even suggesting that the vote in the Parliament is no longer a sure thing; the USL has the majority but if the PNL did not vote with the governing coalition, the PSD would have to look elsewhere for the needed votes.
Read here about the structure of the new Government, proposed by PM Victor Ponta and negotiated within the USL.