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PM Dancila denies reshuffle suggested by President Iohannis, says action increases credibility

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, the national leader of the majority Social Democratic Party (PSD), said on Monday she had decided to replace the interior and foreign ministers "not because President Iohannis wanted it," but because she believes this way the government will gain more credibility, more public trust.

"I have seen in the public space this information (...) of some 'well-wishers' alleging that I made these replacement decisions at the Interior Ministry and the Foreign Ministry following the request of President Iohannis. Had I been to follow this line of thinking, I would have always come up with ministers accepted by Mr Iohannis quickly; I would have not had so many blockages to the government every time I would come up with a ministerial pick. Had I done that, I would have not always needed to change candidates for a particular portfolio. So, once again, I did not make the decisions because President Iohannis wanted it; I made the decisions because I believe this way the government will gain more credibility, more public trust. In the future, wherever I feel things can go better, I will make changes," Dancila said at a news conference at the end of a convention of the PSD leadership.

She added that PSD were waging a battle with Iohannis for the presidential office. "So if I commit myself as the party chair to getting a certain result in the presidential election, I definitely do not have to play into the hands of the political opponent in this campaign, but I have to strengthen my party, strengthen my government, strengthen my position inside the ruling coalition. So these things that appeared in the public space are totally untrue, they do not reflect reality," the PSD leader said.

Dancila did not want to go into details over the reasons for replacing Carmen Dan as interior minister, but she added that she wanted greater efficiency in government's activity.

"I will not go into details over reasons; I will repeat what I have said before. I wish for greater efficiency in government's activity, I want a government were ministers get more involvement so as to win much more public trust for this government. I do not want to go out in front of the press, the public, to analyse the activity of Mrs Carmen Dan or other ministers whom we will replace," said Dancila.

According to her, Dan's case, her arguments are related to the public perception of this ministry. "I want to give more credibility to this ministry, and also I believe we need a change there for the ministry to work better. Do not ask me for internal details from the ministry," Dancila said.

Asked if the controversial involvement of the riot police in the street protests of August 10, 2018 was a mistake in the minister's work, the prime minister replied: "I said that the public perception of both the Interior Ministry and now (...) the Foreign Ministry is not very good at this moment."

"To me, as the prime minister, it is important that the perception of each minister and, of course, the overall perception of the Government of Romania must be positive. That is something that the crowds on the streets will not dictate to me; everyone has the right to protest, and I'm willing to listen to the dissatisfaction of those who protest in the streets (...) but I think, as the prime minister, I have to bring to the government people who have a lot of credibility, people who have a lot of experience and can bring more value to the government," said Dancila.

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