A government crisis erupted yesterday, following Prime Minister Florin Citu’s decision to expel Justice Minister Stelian Ion (USR-PLUS), whom he accused of “blackmailing the Romanian people” by blocking some development plans and failing to abolish the Special Section. against judges.
USR-PLUS announced late last night after a stormy meeting that its ministers would not resign and would demand the resignation of Prime Minister Florin Citu. The second option is to vote in favor of a motion of censure against the government.
Shortly before noon, the Liberal Party (PNL) Politburo met by teleconference at the request of the Citu group to decide on the steps to be taken. The group around the Prime Minister claimed that Citu was right to dismiss Stelian Ion. It was recently announced that all 54 PNL leaders supported Citu at the meeting, which was not attended by Ludovic Orban. In fact, at that time Orban made statements to the press.
Citu told his colleagues at the meeting that when USR-PLUS nominates another person for the Ministry of Justice, he will go on to become a minister.
Following this, the President of the country, Klaus Iohannis, signed the expulsion decree of Stelian Ion.
Earlier, political sources told Hotnews that “if the President signs the decree, the ruling coalition will simply be blown up and there is no way back.”
On the other hand, PSD President Marcel Ciolacu called on USR-PLUS to “leave the ballet” and announced that it was collecting signatures for the motion of censure.
Silence prevails in the UDMR camp. Kelemen Hunor left for Cluj for the forthcoming Union Congress. The UDMR sided with Florin Citu, arguing for the need to approve the “Anghel Saligny” program, which is the official reason why Stelian Ion was ousted from the government.
The duties of Minister of Justice are temporarily exercised by the Minister of the Interior, Lucian Bode.
Yesterday’s cabinet meeting was adjourned due to the Prime Minister’s decision to add to the agenda the “Anghel Saligny” investment program worth 50 billion lei. PSR-PLUS executives angrily threatened to file a motion of censure if the bill was tabled, complaining that the necessary opinions, including that of the Ministry of Justice, had not been issued.
The ousted Minister Stelian Ion said he had received only one copy of the decree for the “Anghel Saligny” program due to which the crisis broke out and blamed the “mistake” made on the Ministry of Development. This is because the Minister for Development, Cseke Attila, stated that the original was sent to the Ministry of Justice on August 25. Ion also said that the opinion on this investment program would be rather negative.
Following Ion’s ouster, USR PLUS announced that it was withdrawing political support for Florin Citu, whom he blamed for the political crisis, and said that if talks within the governing coalition on the election of a new Prime Minister failed, the party would support a motion of censure against the Citu government.
For his part, Stelian Ion said today that the “invisible stakes” of the reshuffle are linked to the ongoing process of appointing high-ranking prosecutors. As he said, he received a “signal” that “it is not right” for him to coordinate the selection process of the candidates for the positions of high-ranking prosecutors, but someone else, “so that the outcome is known in advance”.
Last night, when his expulsion decision became known, Stelian Ion published the list of prosecutors who entered the competition for leading positions in DNA and DIICOT, including that of the Chief Prosecutor of DIICOT. The process is set to end on September 15, with President Iohannis sending her proposals for the posts.
Asked by reporters, Stelian Ion replied that “the issue is not about a specific party, but the way of discussion”.
For me, this process must be done with transparency, with the cooperation of the institutions, with dialogue as much as the law allows and in the end to make proposals, which will be accepted by the President, who has the last word, to have the acceptance of the Department for Judges “, said the Minister of Justice, sending the message to the judges to never accept” political signals of any kind in the work they do “.
The process of selecting eight vacant leadership positions in the Attorney General’s Office, DIICOT and DNA is in progress. The position of head of DIICOT has been vacant since September 2020 when Giorgiana Hosu was forced to resign after her husband, former police officer Dan Hosu, was sentenced to three years suspended imprisonment in the Carpatica Asig case.
Candidates will be interviewed September 6-9. The proposals of the Ministry of Justice will then be sent to the Supreme Judicial Council for an opinion, before being sent to President Iohannis, for signature.
Recently, the other candidate for the presidency of the PNL, Speaker of Parliament, Ludovic Orban, presented at a press conference his own view on the government crisis that erupted after the resignation of the Minister of Justice, Stelian Ion.
Among other things, he referred to the coalition formed through complicated negotiations, “with the aim of saving the country from the clutches of the PSD” and which committed itself to four years of work for the benefit of the citizens and the country.
“Today, we are in a political situation in which no one is going to make a profit, neither Prime Minister Citu nor USR PLUS nor any other political formation of the coalition. (…) We can not govern if the government program is not supported by any of the political formations that signed the agreement. Any departure from the coalition could lead to the loss of a majority, Orban said./ibna