Huge teachers’ strikes must end before the expected change in government leadership as agreed by the coalition in December, can take place, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said, meaning Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca of the Liberal Party PNL will not have to give up his seat for Social Democratic candidate just yet.
The rotation system was agreed upon by the grand coalition of leading Social Democrats (PSD) and PNL, as well as the smaller party representing the Hungarian minority (UDMR).
“If the education strike is definitely finished, the procedure for appointing a new prime minister should start on Friday. We shall see,” said Iohannis, speaking on the largest teachers’ strike the country has seen within the past 18 years.
The rotation is not a constitutional procedure but rather an agreement made in 2022 between the Social Democrats (PSD) and the liberals (PNL), who form the coalition government along with a smaller party representing the Hungarian minority (UDMR).
To respect the constitutional requirements, the process must begin with the resignation of Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca. Then, President Iohannis will designate the social-democrat leader Marcel Ciolacu to form a new government, which will then be voted upon in parliament.
Iohannis initially expressed hope that the new government would be in place by the end of May, before the teachers’ strike on 22 May.
He now emphasises that the specific date is less important than following a straightforward procedure. This is necessary “to ensure the functioning of the coalition and to have a government that guarantees stability for both the government and Romania”.
The teachers demand a 25% salary increase, as entry-level teachers earn less than €500 and those with 20 years of experience earn less than €1,000.
However, according to the government, the funds for such demands are insufficient, which also proposed allocating some money for educational purposes.
The unions rejected this proposal on Wednesday night and organised protests in Bucharest and other cities on Thursday. Negotiations are ongoing.
(Cătălina Mihai | EURACTIV.ro)
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