AP Interview: Ponta to Romania lawmakers: Don't oust premierJune 19, 2017 4:16pm

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A senior government official in Romania on Monday called on lawmakers not to oust the prime minister in a no-confidence vote this week called by members of his own party.

Government general-secretary Victor Ponta, a former premier, told The Associated Press in an interview that Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu is a guarantor of stability and predictability in the East European country.

Grindeanu is "the good option, the positive option, the option for the future," Ponta said.

The ruling Social Democratic Party withdrew political support for Grindeanu last week, saying he hadn't implemented the party agenda.

Grindeanu, in office since January, denies he's underperformed and says party chairman Liviu Dragnea is seeking greater control over the party. Dragnea is barred from being premier himself because of a 2016 vote-rigging conviction.

Parliament will hold the no-confidence vote Wednesday. If it fails, Grindeanu remains prime minister. If it passes, the ruling coalition will propose a new candidate for premier who is then nominated by President Klaus Iohannis.

The move to oust Grindeanu gained momentum Monday after the chairman of the ethnic Hungarian party, Hunor Kelemen, said the Social Democrats should be allowed to "change ministers and governments" if they wished. He spoke after the Social Democrats approved a proposal to make March 15 — a day when Hungarians celebrate the 1848 Hungarian revolution — a national holiday for ethnic Hungarians.

Grindeanu believes that if he's ousted a loyalist to Dragnea will be appointed.

Ponta said the conflict has provoked "total astonishment" among Western allies and that it began after the Constitutional Court in May upheld a ruling that no one with a conviction can serve as a minister.

"From this moment... the conflict started, the (party) leader irrevocably can't be prime minister and the prime minister ...then said we have a long-term government that is stable," he said.

Ponta said Dragnea's style of leading the party, which voted unanimously to withdraw support and expel Grindeanu, was reminiscent of communist-era politics: "Only then was there unanimity, the leader decided absolutely everything," he said, predicting that the crisis could split the party, the biggest in Romania.

The ruling coalition needs 233 votes to oust the government in the 465-seat legislature. It has 247 seats.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

Prime Minister-designate Mihai Tudose, right, stands next to the head of the Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea, during a press conference at the Romanian parliament, in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Liviu Dragnea, the chairman of Romania's ruling Social Democratic Party has named the new leftist government, and many ministers are set to keep their jobs, despite being criticized for underperforming. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)
New leftist govt named in Romania, many ministers keep posts
Romania: US soldier critically injured after electric shockU.S. military officials say an American soldier is in hospital in Romania in critical condition in Romania after suffering an electric shock while working at a railway station near the Hungarian border
Bulgaria's President Rumen Radev, center left, shakes hands with Romanian counterpart Klaus Iohannis at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, June 28, 2017.(AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)
Bulgaria, Romanian leaders: we're not opposed to Russia
Romania: police find 91 migrants from Syria, Iraq in truckRomanian border police have found 91 migrants from Iraq and Syria hidden away in a truck transporting auto parts
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble addresses the media during a press conference on the financial outlook 2018 in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, June 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
German Cabinet approves plan to boost spending next year
The Latest: Aid group fears for migrants at Italy borderThe aid group Doctors Without Borders says it's worried about minors and other migrants who have disappeared in hills near the French border with Italy

Related Searches

Related Searches