Romanian prime minister to resign next week, successor yet unknown

The Romanian prime minister Emil Boc will probably resign next week. This was reported after Boc officially announced his candidacy for the position of PDL party chairman.

During the last weeks, president Traian Basescu has tried to promote the idea of replacing Boc with an independent (not party-affiliated) candidate. The plan is that Boc would run for the position as party leader and prepare the next electoral campaign while a new, independent candidate would take over the office of prime minister (internal PDL party rules exclude the possibility of holding both offices at the same time). While the idea of a new prime minister seems to enjoy the general support of the public, it is still not clear who would succeed Boc. The president’s candidate of choice – Cristian Popa, head of the Romanian Central Bank – has repeatedly denied to have any ambitions with regard to the office.

The plan as is currently presents itself is that Boc will step down on Wednesday next week after the motion of censure on the new labour code initiated by the opposition and will then be elected party chairman at the PDL convention in May. However, it is unclear whether Boc and Basescu’s plan succeeds. At the same time as Boc, party colleague Vasile Blaga also announced his candidacy. Blaga is hugely popular among local party leaders and therefore has very good chances to beat Boc who – apart from president Basescu – lacks open supporters (or as hotnews.ro puts it: “Democrat Liberals who endorse Boc refrain from admitting it in public”).

Although the two parties’ general standings cannot be compared, this situation is quite similar to the ascension of Polish politician Grzegorz Napieralski to party leadership of the ‘Democratic Left Alliance’ (SLD) in 2008. Napieralski could also rely on support from local party leaders and thereby managed not only to eclipse other popular politicians but also to become the (nearly) unquestioned leader of his party. If this becomes true for the PDL, both the position of the still to be named new prime minister but also of president Basescu would be severely weakened.

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