Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Romania opposition closes ranks against PM designate

BUCHAREST, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Romanian opposition parties on Tuesday refused to back respected central banker Lucian Croitoru in his bid to become prime minister, extending a political deadlock that threatens to damage Bucharest's access to IMF aid.

Croitoru, designated by the president last Thursday, has until the end of the week to form a cabinet and secure parliamentary backing, but it appears all but impossible with the opposition united behind a different candidate.

If he fails, Romania's president will have to nominate a candidate again. This will scupper any chances for a stable cabinet in coming weeks and add to concerns Romania may run out of time to meet aid terms for the next tranche of International Monetary Fund cash.

'He (Croitoru) is in an embarassing situation,' Ludovic Orban, a leader of the opposition Liberal Party, said after Croitoru's first official talks with the opposition.

Commentators say the wrangling over who replaces the cabinet of Prime Minister Emil Boc, ousted by parliament earlier this month, is part of a tactical game played all major groupings ahead of the Nov. 22 presidential election.
 

The closely-contested vote, likely to go into a second round on Dec. 6, pits the opposition groupings who control 65 percent of seats in parliament against centrist incumbent Traian Basescu, a close ally of Boc.

Basescu's ratings have slipped in recent months, bringing him virtually neck-and-neck with the runner-up, leader of the opposition Social Democrats, Mircea Geoana.

While praising Croitoru's economic skills, opposition groupings say they prefer provincial city mayor Klaus Johannis to form the next cabinet, saying he has better managerial skills.

Croitoru, now a policy adviser to central bank governor, was a member of Romania's team that negotiated the 20 billion euro aid package from the IMF and the European Union.

An ethnic German, Johannis has won praise for major restoration works in Sibiu, a medieval city in Transylvania, that earned it the title of European Capital of Culture in 2007.

'With all respect for his professional skills ... I suggested to him (Croitoru) not to enter this political game which is not good for him,' Geoana said. 'The only honourable thing he can do is to quit.'

Since his nomination, Croitoru has remained defiant, saying he would use the full 10 days given to him under Romanian law tro try and form a cabinet.

'I remain open for further negotiations,' he said.

1 comment:

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