Romania appoints new PM to defuse crisis

  • Elisabeth Gheorghe
  • 29.6.2017 16:42

After ousting their six-month-old cabinet, Romania’s ruling Social Democrats (PSD) nominated outgoing economy minister Mihai Tudose as prime minister on 26 June, concluding political deadlock. A no-confidence vote on 21 June toppled ex-Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu. Grindeanu lost his coalition cabinet’s support last week, after allegedly failing to uphold an ambitious manifesto that had won December’s parliamentary elections. Grindeanu said improving economic ties with Russia would be difficult given EU sanctions, although coalition infighting has also delayed policymaking.

Grindeanu’s push to decriminalise some offences to protect party seniors facing graft charges, including party chairman Liviu Dragnea, triggered mass protests in February, prompting him to retract them. Many officials are unhappy with Grindeanu’s performance. Centrist President Klaus Iohannis said he will only endorse a candidate who does not face pending investigations or trials - a condition that Tudose meets, but still remains criticised for sluggish performance as a minister. While political turbulence has left its marks on financial markets, Iohannis reassured French president Emmanuel Macron in Brussels on 23 June that Romania remains stable ahead of its efforts to join Schengen. Tudose is likely to tread his predecessors' pro-EU and -NATO path, maintaining existing balances with Russia and the West. In addressing regional security challenges, Romania has recently deepened its defence ties with Germany and the EU.

About author: Elisabeth Gheorghe

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