Romania's Liberals want interim minister to fully takeover justice seat to end row with president

Publish date: 12-02-2008
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Romania's ruling Liberal Party (PNL) is to propose the current interim justice minister, also a defense minister, to take the helm of the justice portfolio, in a bid to end disputes with president who kept denying their initial proposal for the vacant position.

The interim minister, Teodor Melescanu, is currently in charge of two ministries, after the president refused to endorse Liberal Senator Norica Nicolai to the vacant seat, unhappy with her reputation and misconduct in public. A relative of hers was brought to Senate last year and showed how to vote, which violated the chamber's rule and stained public image.

PNL is now mulling proposing a new minister for the defense portfolio, Senator Radu Cimpeanu announced today after a party meeting. However, any proposal needs to be approved by the chief of state.

In mid-January, the premier appealed to the president to analyze together Nicolai's political and professional becoming in a "detached and objective way." Yet, the president refused to agree with the proposal, forcing the matter to court. Liberals had to name an interim for the position.

The seat was left vacant at the end of last year, when the young minister Tudor Chiuariu resigned after corruption allegations.

The justice reform is under continuous monitoring in Brussels, officials showing discontent with recent progress, according to the last report released last week.

Romania, which joined the European bloc on January 1, 2007, pledged to stamp out high-level corruption and reform the judiciary.


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