Romania’s president calls on prime minister to resign

Romania's president calls on prime minister to resign
The Associated Press

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s president called on the prime minister to resign, saying Friday that she is unfit for the job, signaling a fresh round of political tensions between the centrist president and left-wing government.

President Klaus Iohannis said that Viorica Dancila “is not up for the job of Romanian prime minister,” three months after she became Romania’s first female premier this January.

Iohannis said that she “prefers to execute party orders” and represented “a vulnerability” for Romania. He was referring to her political dependence on the leader of the ruling Social Democrats, Liviu Dragnea, who effectively runs the government. Iohannis also accused her of failing to inform him over a unilateral government proposal to relocate Romania’s embassy to Jerusalem.

Iohannis is in charge of foreign policy and would make a final decision on the embassy. He doesn’t have the authority to fire Dancila, but his request will put pressure on the government.

Dancila, who is the party’s third premier since the Social Democrats came to power in 2016, hasn’t responded to the president. Party colleagues insisted that she wouldn’t step down.

Calin Popescu Tariceanu, who heads the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats which is a junior partner in the government, said only Parliament could decide whether to support or fire Dancila.

Iohannis summoned Dancila for a meeting, but she said she wouldn’t go.

Earlier Friday, Iohannis said he was concerned that the Social Democrats were trying to meddle in the running of the National Bank of Romania.

Dragnea can’t be prime minister due to a 2016 conviction for vote-rigging.