UPDATE: Romania’s ruling coalition officially proposes economy minister for Prime Minister

Social Democrat Mihai Tudose, who has been economy minister in the Victor Ponta and Sorin Grindeanu cabinets, is the ruling coalition’s proposal to take over as Prime Minister of Romania. President Klaus Iohannis has the final say and will announce his decision after consultations with the political parties represented in the Parliament this afternoon.

The Social Democratic Party’s National Executive Committee (CExN) voted for their leader Liviu Dragnea’s proposal to support Mihai Tudose for the PM position although some of the PSD leaders closest to Dragnea apparently opposed this proposal, according to Hotnews.ro. Moreover, the internal PSD evaluation of the Sorin Grindeanu cabinet revealed that the Economy Ministry only partially implemented two of the measures in PSD’s governing program for the economy sector and failed to fulfill 17 other promises, according to Mediafax.

However, the PSD leader had no option but to nominate the former economy minister for Prime Minister as five other Social Democrats he approached for this position, including labor minister Lia Olguta Vasilescu and interior minister Carmen Dan, refused to take this responsibility. The other three candidates were Adrian Tutuianu – the head of the parliamentary control commission on SRI’s (the Romanian Intelligence Service) activity, Viorica Dancila – MEP, and Mihai Fifor – the head of PSD’s Senate group.

PSD’s coalition partners, the the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), also supported PSD’s proposal for Prime Minister.

Liviu Dragnea said before the meeting with Klaus Iohannis that he hoped the President would appoint Mihai Tudose for Prime Minister on Monday evening so that the new cabinet would be voted on Thursday.

Tudose would thus take over from Sorin Grindeanu, whose cabinet was overthrown last week via a no-confidence vote in the Parliament.

 

Mihai Tudose, 50, comes from the town of Braila, in Eastern Romania. He has been a member of the Social Democratic Party for 25 years, holding various positions within the party. He was economy minister in Victor Ponta’s cabinet from 2014 until November 2015 and has held the same position in the Grindeanu cabinet this year. He’s also a member of the Chamber of Deputies.

Tudose holds a Bachelor’s degree in judicial and administrative studies from the Dimitrie Cantemis Christian University. He has also completed two master’s programs and carried out a doctorate program at the Mihai Viteazu National Intelligence Academy, which is run by the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI).

His connection to the SRI hasn’t gone unnoticed by Tudose’s party colleagues, who expressed some suspicion related to his loyalty. “Because there are some suspicions about him, he will have to prove in a short time that he has no double allegiance. For the moment, I think there’s no reason to think that,” said labor minister Lia Olguta Vasilescu, according to local News.ro.

 

PSD leader Liviu Dragnea himself said that he didn’t doubt Tudose’s loyalty to the party but that some of his colleagues were more suspicious, given the bad experience with Sorin Grindeanu. Former PM Grindeanu refused to resign two weeks ago after the PSD leadership decided to withdraw the political support for his cabinet. The PSD leaders said that his refusal to step down when the party asked him to showed that he may be involved with an intelligence service.

Irina Marica, [email protected]