Romania: Tumultation in PNL continues as Iohannis and Orban go head-to-head

Romania: Tumultation in PNL continues as Iohannis and Orban go head-to-head

Asked to comment on the latest developments in the formation of the government and the intra-PNL turmoil, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis gave a press conference at noon saying that if the PNL-USR-PLUS-UDMR coalition nominates Ludovic Orban as Prime Minister, he will give him the mandate.

“Yes, if a coalition is formed that has a majority in Parliament and nominates Ludovic Orban, I will accept him; I will give him the mandate,” the Romanian president responded to a relevant question.

He also criticized the USR, saying that the main reason why the PNL-USR-PLUS-UDMR negotiations were at a stalemate was that “some people tried to negotiate through the media.”

The PNL has found itself in turmoil, following yesterday’s announcement of an underground showdown between President Iohannis and party leader Ludovic Orban.

Orban, who has been sidelined for the time being, made a vigorous comeback yesterday proposing himself for the post of Prime Minister and handing over the Presidency of the Parliament to Barna. He even claimed that the USR nominated him as Prime Minister, only to receive the answer from Barna that “it was a joke.”

Orban’s proposal was anything but music to the PNL executives’ ears. Prime Minister-designate Florin Cîtu refused to step down in favor of Orban at last night’s meeting of the party leadership, saying he would only do so at the request of the Party Politburo.

Of the eight party leaders who took part, PNL Secretary General Robert Sighiartău was reportedly the most critical of Ludovic Orban.

When Orban presented his appointment as Prime Minister as the solution that could unblock negotiations with the USR-PLUS and the UDMR, Sighiartău replied that such a decision would be bad for the party and Florin Citu, who should withdraw for the second time from the prime minister’s race. This would also mean, Sighiartău stressed, that the Party Politburo, which elected Citu, has a decorative role.

Many deputies also appeared cautious. The only one (out of eight) who supported him was Ionel Dancă. The Orban associates, on the other hand, herald that the position “belongs” to the president of the PNL.

The PNL leadership asked Orban to present a written “Tripartite Coalition Agreement” with the other two parties USR-PLUS and UDMR, to ensure that the party would not enter into negotiations without the certainty that Ludovic Orban had the support of partners.

So far, Orban’s proposal does not appear to be in line with the USR-PLUS, and in particular former Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos.

The USR-PLUS leadership will informally meet tonight to discuss the Orban proposal to end the stalemate; specifically, that he assumes the Prime Ministry, Dan Barna the post of the Speaker of Parliament and the UDMR that of the Speaker of the Senate. The PLUS has set a condition for Orban to have the support of the PNL.

Tomorrow, Thursday, talks between the three political formations will officially resume. /ibna