The Romanian Social Democrats have nominated an MEP, Viorica Dancila, to succeed the resigning prime minister whom they dropped because of a conflict within the party.
“Mrs. Dăncilă has been an MEP since 2009, she is respected in Brussels, she doesn’t seek conflict, is communicative and has good relations with the (European) Commission,” said Social Democrat Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea after a party meeting in Bucharest.
Dancila could be appointed on Wednesday if she gets the approval of the President Klaus Iohannis, which would make her the first female head of government in Romania.
Prime Minister Mihai Tudose resigned on Monday after losing the support from his party, in a controversy involving the Minister of the Interior Carmen Dan, a close ally Dragnea’s, who Tudose asked to resign last week over an alleged cover-up to protect a police officer accused of pedophilia. With the support of the PSD president, Dan refused to step down, prompting Tudose to quit instead.
He is the second prime minister to be forced to resign in less than seven months.
Liviu Dragnea has tight control over both party and government affairs, but having been found guilty of electoral fraud, he has been banned from holding the office of prime minister.
Dragnea was also behind the fall of Tudose’s predecessor, Sorin Grindeanu, , and was ousted by a vote of no confidence in June 2017 after he tried to decriminalise some forms of corruption.
Viorica Dancila’s appointment represents “a clear signal to Brussels, because we want to improve relations between the government and the Commission,” said Liviu Dragnea, referring to the EU’s criticism of Romania in recent months for controversial reforms to the justice system.
Before being elected as an MEP in 2009, Dancila was a county councillor and president of the local Social Democrats in Teleorman country.