Romanian PM Citu gives EUR 200 mln, mostly to village mayors
Romania’s interim Government, on October 6, disbursed RON 1 bln (EUR 200 mln) from the special reserve to local administration entities for helping villages, towns, cities, and counties cover their expenditures with investment projects or simply their current expenditures.
Despite broad public criticism against this decision, President Klaus Iohannis, in a public statement, defended Prime Minister Citu again and said that those who complain “are simply frustrated for they are not where the money is.” He said that he is sure that PM Citu distributed the money “in full compliance with the law” to those in need ahead of the winter season, according to Hotnews.ro.
Mayors from the opposition accused political bias, though.
Apart from defending arbitrary allocation of public money (which should be an exception operated on a case-by-case basis), the President’s aggressive statements against the opposition do not bode well for the coming consultations to form a new Government.
As for the EUR 200 mln distributed by the acting Executive, the biggest part (some 60%) went to villages. A breakdown by projects or type of expenditures was not provided.
The move prompted criticism from the opposition Social Democrats (PSD) and reformists (USR), who claim that prime minister Florin Citu has arbitrarily distributed the funds to local representatives of the National Liberal Party (PNL) in exchange for their votes in the recent (September 25) internal elections held by the party. PM Citu defeated former PNL leader Ludovic Orban with 60% against 40% of the votes after President Klaus Iohannis vocally backed the head of the Government.
In a reaction to the Government spreading out EUR 200 mln with no specific procedures, PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu said he would file a criminal complaint against PM Citu.
The prime minister “bought” his seat with public money, Ciolacu accused. He claimed that the mayors and other local representatives of the Liberal and ethnic Hungarians’ party received 80% of the money.
In response, PM Citu said that 25%-30% of the money went to Social Democrat mayors. The mayors of Timisoara (USR), Alba Iulia (USR), Craiova (PSD) and Galati (PSD) confirmed that they received no funds from the RON 1 bln.
In Sibiu county, 95.95% of the money distributed by the Government from the reserve fund ended in the hands of the Liberal (PNL) mayors, according to G4media.ro.
(Photo source: Gov.ro)