Romanian coalition topples its own PM

The Romanian parties PSD and Alde toppled their own government led by Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu with a no-confidence vote on Wednesday. The vote took place against the backdrop of a power struggle between PSD leader Liviu Dragnea and the prime minister. Commentators say the move will have severe repercussions for the country.

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România liberă (RO) /

Dragnea will drag us all down

The new government will be even more incompetent than the old one, România Liberă fears:

“Grindeanu's government was one of the most powerless in recent Romanian history. Dragnea has emerged weakened from the confrontation. … He will now almost certainly appoint marionettes to the new cabinet who are even more obedient than the old cabinet and therefore even more incompetent. … The pressure on the economy will become enormous, the public servants - who yet again have been betrayed - will be more disappointed and the number of unfulfilled campaign promises will grow. But the biggest drama is that it's not so easy to eliminate Dragnea from this game. On the contrary, he's prepared to drag all of us down with him into the abyss.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Will Romania become a state ruled by crooks?

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung also sees Romania on the brink of a profound political crisis:

“The toppling of the prime minister by his own party clearly shows that the leadership of the so-called Social Democrats is ready to plunge the country into a political crisis of unforeseeable duration and even to jeopardise its ability to act to protect itself against criminal prosecution. With its first, extremely brazen attempt to do this at the start of the year the party provoked the biggest protests since the end of communism in 1989. After this attempt failed owing to the pressure from the streets it is trying a different approach. … If it weren't for the self-assertive judiciary, an alert civil society, and President Iohannis, who is holding his hands protectively over both, Romania would soon be well on its way to becoming a state full of crooks.”

Hotnews (RO) /

Romania manoeuvring itself onto the sidelines

German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Romanian President Klaus Iohannis to discuss the Brexit on Monday. The government crisis in Romania could destroy the bond of trust between the two countries, Hotnews warns:

“There is a simple explanation for Germany's interest in Romania. It is the last country Berlin can count on in Central and Eastern Europe. … Romania is a pro-Western island. It has close ties to America, supports the Franco-German tandem in the EU and is surrounded by a number of countries that are either two-faced or want to seal themselves off. … How can you topple your own government for no good reason, simply to strengthen your own power? This irresponsible policy must be stopped before the last stable island in Eastern Europe turns into a Mafiosi state. … If that happens we'll be out of the picture completely.”

Ziare (RO) /

PSD won't survive this fight

The power struggle will tear the ruling social democratic PSD apart, writes Ziare:

“Any sense of security and optimism in the party has disappeared, instead a feeling of shock and disgust prevails. The party leader [Dragnea] won't be able to build a bridge with voters because he lacks support within his own party. The fact that [ex-prime minister Victor] Ponta is now taking to the stage [as the government's new general secretary] is a stunning blow for Liviu Dragnea and an unexpected boost for [incumbent prime minister] Grindeanu, who is trying to remain in his post. The war between Grindeanu and Dragnea has taken on a new quality, and there are signs that the PSD won't be able to survive this struggle.”

România liberă (RO) /

A chance for Romania's opposition

The opposition in parliament must seize the opportunity the government crisis presents, the daily paper România Liberă urges:

“For five months the PSD has been trying to do nothing but bribe the people with pittances in the hope that it will be able to keep them in check if it passes another emergency decree [softening the anti-corruption drive]. … Regardless of whether the Grindeanu government remains in power or is toppled, this country simply can't afford to stagnate and not have a national project. … A first step should be taken: the opposition consisting of the [liberal] PNL and [newcomer party] USR should find a common language and cooperate to put forward a competent prime minister.”