Romania's President asks PM to resign over Israel embassy row

  • Mihai Turcanu
  • 27.4.2018 16:22

On 27 April, Romania's President Klaus Iohannis called upon Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă to resign, after  on 23 April she approved a secret memorandum concerning the possibility for Romania to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Subsequently, Dăncilă undertook a two days unannounced visit to Israel, with a yet unknown outcome.

Iohannis argues that, acting without consulting him, Dăncilă overstepped her legal authority which doen't encompass foreign policy prerogatives. He stated the move would breach international law by ignoring UN resolutions calling upon countries to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in Jerusalem, although whether such resolutions are legally-binding is controversial. Behind this initiative is the ruling Social-Democrat Party's president Liviu Dragnea, arguing that relocating the embassy at this time is a huge opportunity yielding enormous benefits for Romania by strengthening ties with its most powerful ally, and with ”an extraordinarily influential state”. His true motives, however, are more practical. Isolated and pressured by Romania's allies, including the US who on 27 November 2017 criticized his efforts to decriminalize and amnesty his own and his party's corruption offences, he is trying to enter Trump's good graces. Resting upon a solid parliamentary majority, and with the President lacking the power to fire her, Dăncilă's resignation seems improbable, but so does the embassy's relocation to Jerusalem (this being Iohannis' prerogative). Whether successful or not, Dragnea's move will likely succeed in putting the President in a tight corner of the international politics, by forcing him to chose between the US administration and the EU, while portraying himself as America's friend.

About author: Mihai Turcanu

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