Romania's New Governance

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On November 30, 2008, less than 50% of Romania’s eligible voters exercised their constitutional right for the Parliamentary Elections . Despite being the lowest voting presence since 1990, the results were not surprising at all. If two weeks ago the options for the Romanian Government were still a mental exercise, we now know the two parties that have decided to go hand in hand to create a comfortable majority in the Parliament and thus form the Government as well.

The Democrat-Liberal Party (PDL) and The Social-Democrat Party & Conservator Party alliance (PSD+PC) created a governing coalition and have already negotiated to decide which party will lead which ministries. Although, in theory, the two parties created a common governance strategy, in practice, each party will hold power on a specific set of ministries (they split them 50-50 in fact) and thus will be able to enforce its own policies in that direction.

As it looks right now, the Democrat-Liberal Party (PDL) will lead the following ministries:

  • Ministry of Public Finances
  • Ministry of Economy
  • Ministry of Transport & Infrastructure
  • Ministry of National Defense
  • Ministry of Regional Development & Housing
  • Ministry of Communications & Information Society
  • Ministry of Culture, Cults and National Patrimony
  • Ministry of Youth & Sports
  • Ministry of Tourism

The Social-Democrat Party & Conservator Party alliance (PSD+PC) will head the following ministries:

  • Ministry of Work, Family & Social Protection
  • Ministry of Education, Research & Innovation
  • Ministry of Public Health
  • Ministry of Agriculture
  • Ministry of External Affairs
  • Ministry of Internal Affairs & Administrative Reform
  • Ministry of Environment
  • Ministry of Small Enterprises & Business
  • Ministry for the Relationship with the Parliament

The Ministry of Justice will be given to an independent technocrat since it’s quite a sensitive portfolio that the EU is extremely concerned about, because of the rampant corruption running amok through the Romanian political system. Since we’re dealing with a political coalition that spans over both left and right oriented doctrines, I guess it will be interesting to look at specific ministries and see what will be the possible implications generated by the center of power governing that specific institution.

The first thing that stands out is the fact that PDL controls both the Ministry of Economy, as well as the Ministry of Public Finances (two different ministries that used to form a single one in the previous governance). Since PDL is allegedly a more liberal party rather than socially oriented, we can assume that the economic and financial policies will tend to be more liberal oriented. PDL also controls the Ministry of Transport & Infrastructure, the Ministry of Regional Development & Housing, as well as the Ministry of Tourism, all three of them quite important for the business environment of Romania.

On the other side, the PSD+PC alliance controls more public administration oriented ministries, which in a sense fits better with their theoretically more social oriented doctrine. However, this also gives them a lot of power controlling huge beaurocratic entities, such as the Police or the Workforce Territorial Inspectorate, both of them highly powerful in corruption related issues, for example.

However, the outlook is pretty positive, overall. Ministries directly involved in the economic and financial development of the Romanian business environment are more liberal oriented. The risk comes, however, from having the long term development of the country (education, health, etc) in a more socially oriented and corruption prone control. However, all these are mere speculations, the future will actually show us what will in fact happen.

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Update: An article today in Cotidianul brings more details related to the various ministries and their access to European funds. It appears that PDL will control 85% of GDP and 30% of incoming EU Integration funds, while PSD will control 15% of GDP, but 70% of incoming EU Integration funds, especially those going to the Ministry of Environment and Agriculture.

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