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The left in Romania makes its second government fall in a year

Ⓒ AFP/Archivos – DANIEL MIHAILESCU – | Photo taken on October 10, 2017 shows the Prime Minister of Romania, Mihai Tudose, arriving at a press conference after a meeting at the headquarters of the PSD party in Bucharest.

In less than seven months, the Romanian left already dropped two prime ministers, Mihai Tudose being the last to date who was forced to resign on Monday after a conflict with the strong man of his Social Democratic Party (PSD), Liviu Dragnea.

“I retire with my head high,” said Tudose, 50, after an emergency meeting in Bucharest of those responsible for the PSD, in which they withdrew their support. Tudose said he would not stay in office during the interim.

This resignation comes on the eve of a historic visit to Romania by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was due to be received on Tuesday by Tudose, in the framework of a tour in Eastern Europe of the Japanese head of government.

Winner of the legislative elections of December 2016, Dragnea could not run for the post of prime minister due to a suspended prison sentence of two years for electoral fraud. But it retains control of the party, at the price of repeated disagreements with the heads of government.

During a recent television interview, Tudose implicitly accused Dragnea of ​​making decisions without consulting the other party officials.

Extitular of the Economy portfolio in two previous governments, Tudose was proposed for the post of prime minister by Dragnea in June.

Relations between the two, strained for months, deteriorated even more in recent days, when Tudose called for the resignation of the Interior Minister, Carmen Dan, near Dragnea, after a case of pedophilia that splashed the police.

With the support of Dragnea, Dan ignored this call to resign from his duties, even if the head of the government had clearly indicated that he could no longer work with her and accuse her of having “lied to him”.

“The conclusion of the meeting was that we can not continue like this, since there is a situation of conflict between the party and the government, as well as within the government itself,” Dragnea said Monday.

Three months ago, Tudose already provoked the anger of Dragnea by imposing on its own initiative a ministerial reorganization.

– ‘The script is repeated’ –

Dragnea for its part already made fall in the government of Social-Democrat Sorin Grindeanu, who became “too independent” for his taste.

“Despite the differences, the script is repeated,” says the chief editor of the information site, Cristian Pantazi, who mentions “the conflict between Liviu Dragnea, who wants to control the government, and a prime minister (Grindeanu or Tudose), who refuses to obey all his orders. ”

Asked by journalists, Dragnea on Monday considered having “made two bad decisions” of prime ministers, and assured that he would not make the same “mistake” again. The Social Democrats will meet on Tuesday morning to propose a new head of government.

The departure of Tudose must be formally approved by the center-right president Klaus Iohannis.

In the wake of repeated political crises within the majority, Iohannis expressed in October his doubts about the “ability of the PSD to govern,” and hinted that he could refuse to entrust a new member of this party to form the government.

The PSD, heir to the former communist party, which returned to power in December 2016 with a clear majority, provoked a wave of protests unprecedented in Romania last winter when it tried to soften anti-corruption legislation. Before the great demonstrations, the government backed down.

This majority approved in December, however, a controversial reform of the justice system that fears, according to its detractors, a reduction in the independence of the magistrates and a restriction of the prerogatives of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (DNA).

Currently judged for abuse of power in a case of fictitious jobs, Dragnea is suspect in addition to diverting European funds. Your assets were seized.

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