11 February 2008 Bucharest _ Romania’s main opposition Social Democratic Party has called for early elections after withdrawing its support from Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu’s minority government.
The Social Democrats, PSD, have been instrumental in keeping Tariceanu in power since the collapse of his National Liberals’ coalition with the Democratic Party in spring 2007 left his government with the formal support of just 20% of MPs in parliament.
On Monday the PSD’s leader, Mirceana Geoana, demanded that the government step down to make way for elections ahead of the scheduled vote at the end of the year, however, he said his party would not be proposing a vote of no-confidence in the government.
The PSD’s move makes it unlikely that Tariceanu can carry out a major reshuffle because he would need parliament’s endorsement for that, and without the Social Democrats' support he cannot get a majority vote backing him.
A reshuffle would have been one way to deal with the problems created when President Traian Basescu blocked the appointment last month of Senator Norica Nicolai to replace the Minister of Justice, Tudor Chiuariu, who resigned in December amidst corruption allegations. Read more: http://balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/7773
Last week the Constitutional Court ruled that the president could only veto the planned ministerial appointment once.
Now, instead of a major government reshuffle, Tariceanu is nominating the caretaker Minister of Justice, Teodor Melescanu, to take on that portfolio in a substantive capacity.
Tariceanu said he was replacing Melescanu, until now the Minister of Defence, with Senator Radu Stroe.Observers say the withdrawal of the PSD’s backing makes the position of Tariceanu’s government highly precarious.