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A analysis

PM Tariceanu's chances to stay in office

Vineri, 12 mai 2006, 0:00

Several days before the European Commission presents its report whether Romania is ready to join the EU in January 2007, the Romanian political stage is reaching a boiling point.

The President is stuck in a hospital after a surgical intervention for hernia. Meanwhile, pressure is rising for the replacement of the prime minister, and the opposition is joining forces in a concerted effort to obtain the resignation of the government through a motion in Parliament.

There are several scenarios in circulation regarding the chances that the current government led by Liberal Calin Popescu Tariceanu fall under pressure from within and from the opposition. The scenarios are fueled by repeated conflicts between Tariceanua??s Liberal Party a?" PNL and President Traian Basescu a??s Democratic Party a?" PD.

According to analyst Cristian Ghinea, there are three factors that should be considered: the popularity and influence of President Traian Basescu, a Democratic politician known for his hostility towards Liberal Tariceanu; the incoming EC announcement on Romaniaa??s accession; last, but not least, the capacity of the opposition to coagulate in Parliament.

"In my opinion, the Tariceanu Government risks an imminent replacement, be it sooner or later. But it remains to be seen the circumstances of the change", Ghinea told He added that most probably PM Tariceanu will be replaced only after Romania joins the EU, most probably on January 1, 2007.

Analyst Iosif Boda also believes Tariceanu is too well stuck in his seat to be replaces so easily. "Tariceanu is hard to dismiss as head of the Government. In a year and a half, his image strengthened due to the offices he holds as prime minister and President of the Liberal Party. He makes and breaks within the party", Boda says.

He believes Tariceanu will not be replaced as PM anytime soon, but on the medium term there is a possibility for that to happen. But a political crisis would be needed, maybe through a potential withdrawal of the Democrats or the Conservative Party a?" a minor member of the coalition now in power a?" from the government, prompting early elections, according to Boda.

He also believes that former Liberal leader and Basescu crony Theodor Stolojan, who attempted a strong return on the political stage with fierce criticism of Tariceanu in a TV show earlier this week, will fail to reach his political objectives.

That is because many of the most influential Liberals are united around Tariceanu and cana??t stand Stolojan, but also because Stolojan, who accepted to become Traian Basescua??s counselor after the 2004 elections, is now seen as subordinated to the President, says Boda.

As it stands now, according to the political deals that rooted the current government, the PM may only be replaced at the proposal of the Liberal Party, and that is hard to see in the short term. But, as Cristi Ghinea says, "the Liberals lost their chance to be the strongest political party in Romanian politics.

"PNL will surely continue to drop in polls and will become a second hand party that would have to ally either with the Social Democrats (PSD, now in opposition) or with PD".

And such perspectives have a real potential to bring down the Tariceanu government, with the help of a motion to be tabled by the PSD and fellow opposition group the Greater Romania Party in Parliament.

Speculation is rising the motion against the government might receive the support of some Democrats and independents and a worst case scenario for the Liberals stands in the possibility that the Parliament passes the document.

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