Romania’s president denounces PM as ‘unfit’ for office

Romanian PM Viorica Dancila meeting Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu. [Israel PM office]

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis called on Prime Minister Viorica Dancila to resign on Friday (27 April) after she endorsed a secret deal to move the country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and refused to attend a meeting to resolve other ongoing disputes.

Romania’s head of state cannot dismiss the premier but Iohannis’ call could trigger a no-confidence vote, backed by the two opposition parties, but Dancila should easily survive given her party’s robust majority in parliament.

“Mrs Dancila is not coping with her position of prime minister of Romania and is thus turning the government into a liability for Romania. That is why I am calling publicly for her resignation,” Iohannis said in a statement.

“Three months have passed [since she was invested] and I can draw only one conclusion: Dancila is unfit to be Romania’s prime minister,” he added.

Any decision on embassy relocation rests with the president, who said he was not consulted about that or the state visit Dancila paid to Israel this week along with the leader of her Social Democrat party, Liviu Dragnea.

Dancila has said the memorandum she approved was confidential and could not be made public yet.

Report: Romania to break ranks with EU by moving embassy to Jerusalem

The Romanian government will follow the United States and transfer its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) leader said Thursday (19 April).

“The decision has been taken (…), the procedures are beginning,” Liviu Dragnea told Antena …

Iohannis – who has the final say in foreign policy matters – said moving the embassy to Jerusalem, which is not widely recognised as Israel’s capital due to competing sovereignty claims by the Palestinians, has said the move could break international law.

“A secret document, a secret foreign policy memorandum, was discussed last week in the government. That was a big mistake,” Iohannis said.

“Because in foreign policy matters, if we are talking about secret documents, which obviously are sensitive otherwise they should not be secrets, the president should have been consulted, which did not happen,” Iohannis added.

Dancila has yet to comment on his call for her to resign.

Romania would be the first EU country and one of very few countries in the world to relocate its embassy following US President Donald Trump recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.

The Romanian foreign ministry had said the memorandum was only the start of a wide consultation process and that it sought to identify the best way for Romania to position itself.

It added Romania’s position regarding the Israeli-Palestinian situation “has traditionally been a balanced one, including… bilaterally recognising the Palestinian state.”

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “at least half a dozen” countries were considering moving their embassies to Jerusalem. The US Embassy is due to relocate on 14 May.

Dancila and Iohannis had been scheduled to meet on Friday also to discuss a row between the Social Democrats and the Central Bank, after ruling party members and cabinet ministers slated the bank for its criticism of government policies.

Social Democrat leader Dragnea on 20 April accused the bank and the presidency of coordinating a strategy to discredit the government’s fiscal and economic policies and blamed the bank and multinationals for the recent rise in inflation.

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