The never-ending story of the Romanian cabinet reshuffle

Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă submitted for the third time the same nominees for cabinet posts already refused twice by President Klaus Iohannis.

Last Thursday Iohannis gave his reason for the second refusal: the attached documentation did not make it clear whether the two candidates – Olguţa Vasilescu for Development and Mircea Drăghici for Transport – had any other positions that would conflict with their ministerial position, prohibited by artilce 105 of the constitution.

After Iohannis refused the appointments for the second time, Dăncilă said she would turn to the Constitutional Court (CCR) in protest, but at the time Iohannis responded at a press conference that the CCR will not be able to solve the problem, which is not a legal one.

“Let me say that the CCR has no way of solving the problem, which is not a constitutional, but a legal one. I will only give you the two reasons (why it is a political problem): the first is that de facto Romania has no prime minister. The second is the total political inability of PSD (the ruling Social-Democrat Party).”

Romania has a semi-presidential political system. The president has the right to initially dismiss any cabinet nomination and ask for alternative. But the real fight is not between Iohannis and Dăncilă, but between PSD president and PSD strongman Liviu Dragnea, who is also the president of the lower house of the Romanian parliament. His party has won the 2016 elections but Dragnea could not become prime minister having been convicted twice – once for a suspended sentence of two years for vote-rigging and to three and a half years for incitement to abuse of office (the latter conviction is pending appeal).

Title image: Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă President Klaus Iohannis

Author: Dénes Albert