Romania government crisis deepens amid foreign meddling claims

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has partially rejected a cabinet reshuffle proposed by his country’s government. Iohannis, of the National Liberal Party (PNL), cited the current government’s disappointing record, saying he had expected a comprehensive government shake-up ahead of Romania’s ascent to the presidency of the European Council.

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, of the Social Democratic PSD, and her party’s powerful leader Liviu Dragnea, had suggested replacing “renegade” cabinet ministers and reassigning loyalists after severe criticism from within their own party. The plan was proposed despite a damning European Commission progress report on Romania, and a cross-party resolution by the European Parliament expressing grave concern about the government’s inability to tackle corruption and threats to the independence of the judiciary.

Major blow to Dragnea

Iohannis rejected Romanian Labor Minister Lia-Olguta Vasilescu’s planned reassignment to the Ministry of Transport, but accepted her proposed successor — thereby effectively shutting Dragnea ally Lia-Olguta Vasilescu out of the cabinet. The move deals a severe blow to the PSD boss, who is also the acting parliamentary president and is barred from serving as prime minister due to a previous conviction for vote-rigging.

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(Klaus Iohannis photo: