The upcoming election of party leaders may determine the future of the Romanian government, as the USR PLUS Party and the National Liberal Party (PNL) will soon elect their party chairman in a fiercely contested election.
Dacian Ciolos, chairman of the European Parliament’s Revitalization Group, is about to focus entirely on Bucharest politics. He won the first round of the USR PLUS presidential election, and he is currently co-chairing the party with Dan Barna, a runner-up in the first round. Since no candidate has won more than 50% of the votes, a new round of online voting will be held, and the party chairman will be formally appointed at the congress to be held next weekend.
All eyes are now focused on the events that will take place this weekend, when the National Liberal Party (PNL), a member of the EPP family, will hold a party congress. It will elect the leadership for the next four years there.
Prime Minister Florin Citu is competing with the current president and former Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, who seems to be the favorite of the campaign. He was supported by the former chairman of PNL, President Klaus Johannes.
However, Citu lost the support of USR PLUS and faced the problem of managing the minority cabinet after the Minister of the Center Party resigned from the government.
After the general election in December 2020, PNL and USR PLUS formed an alliance with the Hungarian political party UDMR (as a member of PNL, EPP) to form a coalition government.
At that time, USR PLUS did not want Ludovic Orban to be Prime Minister, so the then Finance Minister Florin Citu was selected by Iohannis as the new government. However, the relationship between the alliance partners has become increasingly cold, which eventually led to Citu’s decision on September 1 to dismiss Attorney General Stelian Ion, who is a member of USR PLUS.
After making this decision, the Central Party decided to withdraw their ministers and filed a motion of condemnation, saying that the prime minister had lost political support. However, USR PLUS claims that it still wants to stay in the league, but has a different prime minister.
Therefore, the fate of the government depends on Saturday’s elections. Orban apparently forgot that USR PLUS lacked wit and asked to restore trust in the alliance, while Citu boasted that the centrist party would still have to deal with him on Monday and that he would not beg them to return to the government.
Although Johannes, as the head of state, was supposed to be the mediator between the political parties, he quickly chose the side. He strongly criticized USR PLUS and the far-right political party AUR for the decision to condemn the motion, and also criticized Ludovic Orban. Johannes will attend the conference on Saturday and publicly express his support for Situ.
If PNL’s internal elections can determine the future of the alliance and the fate of the current prime minister, then the election of USR PLUS may also have a significant impact on Brussels. Ciolos promised that if he becomes the president of USR PLUS, he will withdraw from the helm of the Renew Group so that he can focus entirely on domestic politics.
By the way, the third partner in the alliance also held its own conference, but there are far fewer things. On September 15, Kelemen Hunor was re-elected as the chairman of UDMR for a four-year term.
(Bogdanya Gu | EURACTIV.ro)