Romanian Coalition Government Collapses

October 5, 2009 Updated: October 5, 2009

BUCHAREST, Romania—Romania's political turmoil is temporarily stable after the first weekend of work for nine government-appointed interim ministers.

The crisis came to a head last Thursday, when all nine ministers from the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the minority partner in what had been a two-party ruling coalition, quit their posts in a protest move.

Their dramatic departure was in reaction to the dismissal of Social Democratic Internal Minister Dan Nica by coalition partner the Democratic Liberal Party (PD-L). Nica was kicked out over comments he had made about possible election fraud by the PD-L during the upcoming general elections in November.

Nica’s comments were taken by the PD-L as an accusation that the party might try to cheat to get their leader, Traian Basescu, re-elected as president.

The crisis began when Liberal Democrat Parliament member Emil Boc announced his plan to fire the interior minister early last week, giving the PSD a deadline of 24 hours to come up with another nominee.

When the Social Democrats refused to present another nominee, Boc sent Romania’s president a proposal to dismiss Dan Nica and replace him temporarily with PD-L Minister Vasile Blaga.

The president signed Nica’s dismissal on Oct. 1.

Immediately after that, PSD leader Mircea Geoana announced in a press release that his party was leaving the governing coalition. "Our entire ministerial group, showing solidarity with Dan Nica, is ready today to announce their resignation from the government. All our ministers are going today to submit their resignations.”

After the PSD submitted their resignations, Nica blamed the PD-L for causing a political crisis.

"Throwing Romania in this political crisis, on top of the economic crisis, will have serious consequences,” Nica said in a press statement. “President Basescu, PM Boc, and PD-L are responsible for this. … I for one have never accepted and will never accept that theft is characteristic of this country, therefore I tried to oppose electoral fraud. I tried to stop theft and this is the response I get—dismissal.”

President Basescu denied in a statement to the press that there was evidence of future fraud in the upcoming presidential elections.

In response to the resignations, Liberal Democrat's Vice President Adriean Videanu said that the PSD had ulterior motives for the walk out.

“The only target PSD has is the presidential elections, because Geoana is worried he might lose the second place as well,” said Videanu in a press release.

President Basescu announced on Oct. 1 that Premier Emil Boc had 45 days to find ministers from within the government to cover the vacant positions. Boc presented his list on Friday, including himself as education minister. All but two PD-L ministers are now holding double portfolios.