Romania’s president blocks nomination of ministers and top prosecutors

Romania’s president blocks nomination of ministers and top prosecutors
President Klaus Iohannis sets out his position at a press conference on January 4.
By Iulian Ernst in Bucharest January 7, 2019

Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis endorsed by decree the dismissal of the ministers of development and transport on January 4, but refused to appoint the candidates nominated to replace them.

The president has declined for weeks to approve the replacement of the two ministers, requested by Prime Minister Viorica Dancila as part of a government reshuffle initiated in mid November. This has caused the already tense relations between government and presidency to deteriorate. 

Iohannis said on January 4 that the presidency will reject both candidates on grounds related to “the legality but also the opportunity of the nominations”.

In related news, Iohannis refused once again to endorse the dismissal of head prosecutor Augustin Lazar.

“The head prosecutor is doing a great job,” Iohannis stated.

Iohannis also openly rejected again all the five nominations put forward by Justice Minister Tudorel Toader for the top prosecutor positions, including the candidate nominated for the head of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), Adina Florea. Florea is not fit for the position, Iohannis commented.

The presidency will issue, around the middle of the week (January 10), a written response including the arguments for rejecting the nominations, Iohannis said. He invited the ruling coalition to come up with other candidates.

 The Constitutional Court ruled at the end of last year that the presidency must explain in writing why it rejected the nominations made by the prime minister. 

On November 20, Iohannis refused to endorse the dismissal of development and transport ministers claiming that the candidates are not fit for the positions. One day later on November 21, Dancila nominated other candidates for the ministers of development (Lia Olguta Vasilescu, previously nominated for transport) and transport (Mircea Draghici). The incumbent ministers at that time, Lucian Sova and Paul Stanescu, resigned in order to accelerate the appointment of the new ministers, but they are still serving as acting ministers.