The second fall of the Government
A new internal power struggling broke out in the ruling Social Democratic Party. The Minister of Internal Affairs Carmen Dan, one of party leader Liviu Dragnea’s protegees in the cabinet, is struggling to keep her office after a scandal of pedophilia in the Romanian Police.
The whole scandal started after a traffic police officer was arrested last Monday as the main suspect in a sexual assault case against two minors. The internal affairs minister asked for the resignation of Romanian Police commissioner. The next day, prime minister Mihai Tudose refused to dismiss the Police head and said he couldn’t work with Ms. Carmen Dan anymore. The internal affairs minister said she would not resign.
PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea and PM Mihai Tudose seem to not get along anymore, after prime minister dismissed two important pillars in his cabinet, minister for regional development and minister for European Funds, people very closed to Liviu Dragnea in the scandal of Belina Island. Now, PM Tudose is trying to get rid of the third person Mr. Carmen Dan, internal affairs minister.
Mr. Dragnea allegedly met at the end of 2017 with the main leaders of his party, to discuss the possibility of changing the prime minister this month. Last week, he took the PSD’s counties organization tour in order to strengthen his political office. On the other side, Niculae Badalau, PSD’s executive president, who is second in command after Dragnea, speaks about a restructured Government (with only 16 ministries, instead of 24 at the present) and a team of 5-6 leaders at the helm of the party.
Social-Democrats scheduled a new executive sitting (CEX) of the party to take place in Iasi at the end of January. As the turmoil is daily escalading, PSD rushed to organise it today, January 15th at 4 PM.
In this situation, both sides could push things to extremes in order to gain more power in the party. An important number of chairmen of PSD counties organizations are standing behind Liviu Dragnea, but PM Mihai Tudose has the executive power. There are three scenarios in which the current status quo may be changed:
PM Mihai Tudose to play the card of his resignation. We remind, he had threatened before with his resignation in October 2017 when he asked ministers Shaidehh and Plumb to leave the cabinet. He counts on the fact that replacing their own prime minister for the second time could put PSD in a difficult position as president Klaus Iohannis said he wouldn’t appoint yet another PM representing PSD if this were to happen. We remind here that PM Mihai Tudose was appointed after long negotiations with President Klaus Iohannis. He is supposed to respond to the president’s command. It is assumed that PM Mihai Tudose’s mission is to weaken PSD from the inside before the presidential election scheduled in 2019.
On the other hand, PM Mihai Tudose could count on at least 10-11 PSD MPs who would vote against a censure of no motion against the Gov’t, which puts under difficulty reaching the majority necessary to swap PM out in the Parliament.
The chair Liviu Dragnea would foresee the whole risk surrounding a new political crisis and force the dismissal of PM Mihai Tudose with the large support of the local PSD organisations. At 5 PM local newspapers have revealed a request, which had been signed by 30 chairs of PSD counties organizations (out of 41), for the withdrawal of political support for current PM Mihai Tudose.
In addition, PSD chair is still in control of the ministry for regional development, a real financing source for PSD’s counties organisation, that implies financing of the local infrastructure projects/investments. Thus, Mr. Dragnea may push early elections should the new political crisis occur, and President Iohannis would refuse to nominate the third PSD prime minister. The Social-Democrats rank first in the opinion polls.
A consensus between the chair Liviu Dragnea and PM Mihai Tudose on the main issues of the government. The less likely one.
In all cases, PM Tudose stays in offside. He didn’t manage to gather the necessary number of supporters in the struggle with the chair of PSD.
On the other hand, Liviu Dragnea still holds the control of the party. He counts on the PSD local barons at the CEX. He assured their support for himself by appointing the state secretaries wanted by them. The internal support for PM Tudose is still very weak.
A perspective of a new prime minister, with a restructured Gov’t, is likely to happen in the next days.