In yet another show of the deep rift between the government and the president, the Romanian Armed Forces appointed Lt Gen Aurelian Atanasof (pictured above) as its new Chief of Staff.
On December 28, 2018 President Klaus Iohannis – commander of the Romanian Armed Forces according to the constitution – signed an order extending the mandate of the then Chief of Staff Gen Nicolae Ciuca for another four years. Subsequently, the Armed Forces contested the decision at the Romanian Court of Appeal which ruled on Thursday to suspend the execution of the presidential order. While the president has the right to appeal the decision, it has power of law from the moment it was issued. Just a few hours later the Armed Forces announced in a press release the appointment of the new chief of staff.
According to Romanian law the chief of staff of the armed forces is appointed by the president at the proposal of the minister of defense and with the approval of the prime minister.
Atanasof – an aviation officer – was formerly chief of staff of the Romanian Air Force.