Romania’s Social Democrats Unveil Lineup for New Government

  • Lawmaker Viorel Stefan nominated as finance minister
  • Shhaideh, rejected earlier as PM, named as deputy premier

Romania’s Social Democrats, the victors in last month’s general election, revealed their proposed new government before a parliament vote that’s seen as a formality given the majority the party commands along with its allies in the legislature.

Viorel Stefan, a 62-year-old lawmaker with a PhD in economics, was nominated as finance minister, while Sevil Shhaideh -- rejected last week as prime minister by President Klaus Iohannis -- was put forward as a deputy premier and development minister, party leader Liviu Dragnea told a news conference Tuesday in Bucharest.

“Our main goal is to have a government team that works as a whole to carry out a governing program with very strict and clear implementation deadlines,” Dragnea said, vowing to take full responsibility for the cabinet.

After his party triumphed in the Dec. 11 vote, Social Democrat Sorin Grindeanu received a mandate from Iohannis to lead a government that will replace Romania’s first technocratic cabinet since the fall of communism. Grindeanu will face a Jan. 4 confidence vote in parliament, where the Social Democrats have a majority together with junior coalition partner ALDE.

“My team and I have a good understanding of our position -- this is a political government, backed by a coalition, and politics is done somewhere else,” Grindeanu told reporters Tuesday alongside Dragnea.

Leu Boost

The leu gained 0.3 percent to 4.526 against the euro at 4:51 p.m. in Bucharest, its biggest advance since October, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Other cabinet proposals include:

  • Daniel Constantin, former agriculture minister -- deputy PM and environment minister
  • Alexandru Petrescu -- economy minister
  • Florin Iordache, ex-parliament speaker -- justice minister
  • Razvan Alexandru Cuc -- transport minister
  • Lia Olguta Vasilescu, a town mayor on trial in several graft probes -- labor minister

ALDE nominated Toma Petcu as energy minister and Teodor Melescanu as foreign minister, party head Calin Popescu Tariceanu said at a separate news conference.

Once his cabinet is approved, Grindeanu’s first task will be to design a 2017 budget that will accommodate already-approved increases in state wages, a cut in the sales tax starting this month and other fiscal-loosening measures. Economists at the European Commission have voiced concern over this year’s fiscal shortfall and predict it will surpass the prescribed ceiling of 3 percent of gross domestic product, which may force Romania into a special monitoring regime.

Grindeanu said his cabinet will have a first meeting on Jan. 4, pending the parliamentary vote.

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