Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis did not accept the agreement between the Interior Ministry and the Romanian Orthodox Church for the celebration of Easter.
The President of Romania called on Romanians on Wednesday to stay at home, otherwise “after the Easter holidays, we will have a funerals”. “Dear Romanians, no matter what others say, I tell you what doctors, the Minister of Health, the experts, the World Health Organization say: Stay home, otherwise, after the holidays, we will have funerals”, Iohannis stressed.
Interior Minister Marcel Vela announced after a meeting with Romanian President and Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Wednesday afternoon that Easter religious services would be held without the participation of worshipers.
In a statement on Romanian public television, the interior minister explained that a new agreement had been reached with the Romanian Patriarchate, according to which religious ceremonies would be held in accordance with current decrees and without the participation of worshipers in their churches or courtyards.
The Interior Minister said that the Easter Bread (blessed on Thursday, April 16, 2020) will be distributed to the homes of believers by staff and volunteers of all parishes on Good Friday 17 and Saturday April 18, 2020, between 08:00 and 17:00 and on Easter day, from 06:00 to 12:00, at the request of the faithful.
He also informed that the Holy Light will be distributed to each parish by church staff and a maximum of 5 volunteers, as provided for in the new agreement with the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Marcel Vela’s initiative to reach an agreement with the Romanian Orthodox Church did not sit well with members of the government, and according to political sources, Vela will leave the government with the first mistake he will make.
According to the same information, Ludovic Orban did not expel him from the government, so as not to further affect the image of PNL. After the change of the Minister of Health, it would be the second big decapitation in times of crisis. Although publicly humiliated by Iohannis, Marcel Vela refused to give up on his personal calculations. President Klaus Iohannis, on his part, despite publicly torpedoing the agreement between the USSR and the Romanian Orthodox Church, did not ask Marcel Vela to resign. Prime Minister Ludovic Orban also did not dismiss Vela, although the scandal affected the government’s image. According to the same sources, the PNL leader estimated that a public show of distrust towards the Interior Minister would have provoked even more criticism: he would be the second minister to take part directly in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and be forced to leave the government, after the removal of Victor Costache from the Ministry of Health. Unlike Costache, Marcel Vela has a high acceptance in the polls. In addition, the agreement signed with the Romanian Patriarch was appreciated by the mayors, who are called by the priests and the electorate to open the churches for the Resurrection. The PNL leadership has tried to appease the conservative electoral body, which is its electoral base, in view of the local and parliamentary elections. However, several Liberals in the PNL leadership argue that Marcel Vela will be fired with the first mistake he makes.
For his part, the interior minister, despite being publicly criticized by President Iohannis, refused to resign, telling the people that the agreement between the Interior Ministry and the Romanian Church was supported by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban.
As a result, Vela refused to become a “scapegoat”. A possible resignation would have meant forsaking his political career. Marcel Vela is preparing to run in the local elections for the position of chairman of the Caraş-Severin County Council, having served as mayor of Caransemond for three terms./ibna