Romania’s ruling Social Democrats on Tuesday proposed Viorica Dăncilă, a member of the European Parliament, as the country’s new prime minister, replacing Mihai Tudose.
If the nomination is accepted by President Klaus Iohannis, Dăncilă would be the first woman to hold the top job in Romanian politics, and the third Social Democrat (PSD) prime minister in the space of a year.
Iohannis said Tuesday morning that he was concerned about the government after the PSD dumped its second prime minister in a year due to tensions with powerful party leader Liviu Dragnea.
Speaking before the ruling party announced Dăncilă’s nomination, Iohannis said he wanted a new prime minister in place quickly to ensure political uncertainty doesn’t turn into political instability.
Dăncilă, 55, is an ally of party leader Dragnea, having worked with him as a local councillor in the southern area of Teleorman. Dragnea cannot be prime minister because of a suspended jail sentence he received for rigging a referendum.
She is “a respected MEP in Brussels, because she is a civilized, non-conflictual, very communicative woman,” Dragnea said when announcing the nomination. Her good relations with European Commission officials is an advantage for the Romanian government as it gets ready to take over the presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time next year, Dragnea said.
When Romania was rocked by the largest protests since the fall of communism over an emergency decree decriminalizing some forms of corruption last February, Dăncilă emailed all 750 other members of the European Parliament to explain why concerns about the new laws were unfounded, drawing a rebuke from a Romanian parliamentary aide working for a British MEP.
Dăncilă is in her second term in the European Parliament, where she moved from local politics. She is the head of the PSD delegation in the Parliament.