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Four-star general nominated to head Romania’s government

| 2021-10-22 2 min read

Four-star general nominated to head Romania’s government

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Romanian president Klaus Iohannis has designated his country’s interim defence minister, Nicolae Ciuca, as prime minister to form Romania’s new government after designate Dacian Ciolos failed to receive a vote of confidence in parliament, according to reporting by Euractiv.

Ciuca is  a well-respected retired army general who participated in NATO operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia. He is expected to garner enough MP support to assemble a cabinet within a short time, even if it is a minority government.

However, according to Romania analyst Anton Pisaroglu it’s “not normal” for an army general to be named as a PM-designate. Of Ciuca’s designation, he told Euronews: “He does not have the experience to manage a government.”

Meanwhile, president Iohannis has expressed his frustration with the political stalemate, especially in the context of the surging covid health pandemic in Romania. “The political crisis must end. Now,” he said.

Romania’s three-party-coalition collapsed in September, after a row between centrist party USR and prime minister Florin Citu (a member of the centre-right PNL). USR had voted for a censure motion against the government, while expressing their intention to stay in the coalition with a different prime minister. That’s not a likely to happen, say analysts, as PNL will likely form a minority government with its junior partners from UDMR (the party of the Hungarian minority). Ciuca could also gain support from the opposition socialists (PSD), the party with the largest number of MPs.

UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor also said he had “reservations” about a lifelong soldier leading the country, but added that this was not a personal judgement against Ciucă.

“Ciuca is an exceptional military man,” Hunor told Politico, adding that his designate as PM was atypical, although he understood the need for a quick solution. “In the last 50-60 years, in democratic countries, no soldier has led the government.”

In his first statement as prime minister-designate, Ciuca told reporters that he would negotiate “with all responsible political forces”. He now has 10 days to draft a cabinet and seek parliamentary support before he can be sworn into office.