24641 12/27/2004 15:06 04BUCHAREST3524 Embassy Bucharest CONFIDENTIAL 04BUCHAREST3513 This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available. C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BUCHAREST 003524
STATE FOR EUR/NCE - WILLIAM SILKWORTH STATE ALSO FOR INR/B
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/27/2014 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KDEM, SOCI, ECON, PINR, RO SUBJECT: ROMANIAN PM DESIGNATE PROPOSES NEW CABINET, PARLIAMENTARY APPROVAL PREDICTED "SOON"
REF: A. A) BUCHAREST 3513
B. B) BUCHAREST 3512 C. C) BUCHAREST 3479
Classified By: DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION THOMAS L. DELARE FOR REASONS 1.4 B AND D
1. (C) Summary. Prime Minister designate Calin Popescu Tariceanu announced his proposed cabinet December 26, with parliament's vote of confidence on the list likely to take place as early as December 28. Many of the proposed ministers are relatively young, with limited experience. The Humanist Party (PUR), which shifted its allegiance to the center-right National Liberal Party-Democratic Party (PNL-PD) Alliance late last week, and the ethnic Hungarian party (UDMR) both hold key portfolios in the proposed cabinet. End Summary.
2. (C) PM Designate Calin Popescu Tariceanu announced the new government's proposed list of twenty-four ministers December 26, affirming that the nominees were selected for their "professional performance and moral integrity." The widely expected announcement came after days of intense PNL-PD Alliance negotiations with UDMR, PUR and the Chamber of Deputies' parliamentary minorities group. According to sources in parliament, Parliamentary Commissions will begin reviewing the nominations December 27. Tariceanu also is expected to submit to Parliament December 27 his proposed "program of government," essentially the center-right Alliance's governing roadmap. Parliament may meet in joint session as early as December 28 to vote on the slate and the program of government. PUR's decision late last week to join forces with the UDMR and the parliamentary minorities group in supporting the PNL-PD alliance (Ref B) provides the necessary "yes" votes for parliamentary approval of the proposed cabinet.
3. (C) Although PNL and PD members dominate the cabinet list, both the UDMR and PUR emerged as big winners following their endorsement of the alliance, securing several key ministerial slots. UDMR President Bela Marko and PUR Senator George Copos will each be Deputy Prime Ministers. Marko will coordinate matters concerning culture, education, and EU integration. Copos' portfolio has not been formally established, but his title encompasses coordination of the "business environment and small and medium enterprises".
4. (C) While Tariceanu's proposed ministerial list contains many fresh - and young - faces. The plethora of new faces has led many Romanian dailies to question whether the new cabinet will possess the professional skills and experience needed in Romania's rough and tumble political scene. Rumors also circulated regarding newly elected President Basescu's "meddling" in the proposed cabinet, with one leading daily reporting that Basescu--renowned for his "hands on" managerial style (read: micromanagement) --changed the distribution of several portfolios after negotiations with the parties already had been concluded. (Comment: Post views these news analyses with caution, since some of the print media is clearly hostile to the new team. End Comment.)
5. (C) The proposed ministerial list is set forth below. Post provides biographical data on designees except in those cases where we have recently submitted biographical background information. (See Refs A and C.):
- Minister of State (Vice Prime Minister) for economic activities - Adriean Videanu.
-Minister of State (Vice Prime Minister) for culture, education, and EU integration ) Bela Marko. Marko is President of the UDMR and has served in the Romanian Senate for more than a decade. During a nationally televised presidential debate prior to the November 28 parliamentary and first round of presidential elections, Marko infuriated extreme nationalists by delivering his opening statement in Hungarian. He gained five percent in the first round of presidential elections. Until a few weeks ago, Marko's UDMR was allied with the PSD; he was a mastermind of the PSD-UDMR alliance initially formed in 2001.
-Minister of State (Vice Prime Minister) in charge of business environment and small and medium enterprises ) George Copos. Recently elected Senator Copos is a newcomer to electoral politics, entering the Senate this fall under the PUR banner. Indeed, he joined the PUR only a few weeks before the November 28 parliamentary elections, receiving a favorable position on PUR's parliamentary list. He is one of Romania's wealthiest businessmen, holding a major share of Ana Holding (industry, trade and tourism). He also owns the popular Bucharest soccer club "Rapid." Affiliated before the revolution with the youth branch of the Communist Party, Copos managed to get state aid for his companies both under the outgoing, center-left Social Democratic Party (PSD) government and previous governments. The 52-year-old Copos appears a marked contrast with the proposed cabinet's youngish, reformist bent.
-Minister of Foreign Affairs - Mihai Razvan Ungureanu
-Minister of Interior and Administration - Vasile Blaga
-Minister of Justice - Monica Macovei is not affiliated with any political party, insisting when she accepted the nomination for Justice Minister that she has no intention of joining any party. She is a lawyer and the president of respected NGO APADOR-CH (Association for the Defense of Human Rights Romania ) Helsinki Committee). She successfully represented Romanian citizens in lawsuits against the Romanian state. APADOR-CH was a founding member of the Coalition for a Clean Parliament, which sought to educate voters on candidates' anticorruption track records during the 2004 parliamentary elections.
-Minister of Public Finance - Ionut Popescu
-Minister of Labor, Social Solidarity and Family - Gheorghe Barbu is a member of the Democratic Party and was President of the Hunedoara county council from 1996-2000. Elected deputy for Hunedoara in 2000 and again in 2004, Barbu is a Basescu confidant). When Basescu took over the party, Barbu became the PD Vice President for Trade Union Partnerships. A member of the Chamber of Deputies standing Commission on Labor, he focused on problems related to the pension system. The 53-year-old Barbu served as a MOD State Secretary for six months in 2000.
-Minister of European Integration - Cristina Parvulescu. The 29-year-old Parvulescu has worked in Bucharest's City Hall since 2001, presently serving as Director of the city's "Directorate of Strategic Planning." Before 2001, she worked at the Ministry of Industry. She is a graduate of the Academy of Economic Sciences.
-Minister of Economy - Codrut Seres. Seres is one the PUR's most prominent politicians and is the party's spokesperson. He was nominated as the PUR presidential candidate after PUR's successful local elections campaign in June. Seres withdrew his candidacy after PUR joined forces with PSD late summer this year. As is the case with all PUR politicians, Seres owes his political career to PUR President and media magnate Dan Voiculescu. Seres began working for Voiculescu at his Antenna 1 TV station before being promoted to Director for Development and Strategies at Grivco, one of Voiculescu,s most successful enterprises. He is a graduate of a military academy and is an engineer by training.
-Minister of National Defense - Teodor Atanasiu. The 42-year-old Atanasiu is a PNL member and became president of the Alba county council in June 2004. He was manager of the Cugir armaments plant from 1987 to 1995, and from 1997 to 2000, according to press reports. He was a board member of the Privatization Authority from 1996 to 2000. The choice of Atanasiu was widely viewed as a "surprise" pick.
-Minister of Transportation, Construction and Tourism - Gheorghe Dobre. Touted as one of Basescu,s right hand men, Dobre has been the Director of Bucharest City Hall,s Inspection and Control department since 2001. He served as the MOT,s Secretary General (1998)2000) as well as in the MOT's Organization and Control department (1996-1998). He was a Prefect for Dolj County in the 1990's.
-Minister of Agriculture - Gheorghe Flutur
-Minister of Education and Research - Mircea Miclea. PD Member Miclea is chair of the Babes Bolyai University psychology department and is, at 41 years of age, reputedly the youngest professor at the university. Miclea, who has a PhD in cognitive psychology, was Chancellor General for the university from 2000-2003.
-Minister of Culture - Mona Musca
-Minister of Health - Mircea Cinteza
-Minister of Communication and IT - Nagy Szolt. Currently UDMR Executive Vice Chairman for territorial organizations and local public administration, Szolt coordinated the UDMR local and general election campaigns. Nagy is known as a technocrat and a good organizer, but has not yet served in Parliament. He is in his early 30's. -General Secretary of the Government - Mihai Voicu. Since 2001, he has served as the PNL General Secretary, actively involved in party management and the PNL electoral campaigns. The 36-year-old Voicu was president of PNL youth branch from 1991 to 1994. An engineer by training, he has experience as a manager and works as a consultant. He kept a low profile until recently, when he successfully ran for deputy from Dolj County.
-Minister of Environment - Sulfina Barbu. The 37-year-old Barbu is a PD member recently promoted to Director of Bucharest City Hall,s Environment Department. She previously served as Deputy Director. She is a graduate of Bucharest University's Geophysics Department. Prior to joining Basescu's City Hall in 2001, she worked in the private sector.
-Minister Delegate for implementation of international financing programs - Cristian David
-Minister Delegate for Coordination with Control Authorities - Sorin Vicol. This 34-year-old PUR member worked for a short period of time with the State Asset Management Authority (AVAB) and has not held any leading positions within the PUR.
-Minister Delegate for Parliamentary Relations - Bogdan Olteanu
-Minister Delegate for Public Works and Territorial Administration - Laszlo Borbely. UDMR member Borbely has been a member of the Chamber of Deputies since 1990. He served as State Secretary for the Ministry of Public Works from 1996 to 2000. Borbely is the UDMR Executive Vice President in charge of relations with governmental institutions. He has served on numerous standing committees over the years and is widely respected by his colleagues in the Chamber.
- Iuliu Winkler (UDMR, Minister Delegate for Trade) has been President of the UDMR Hunedoara County branch since 2001, was a county councilor (1996-1999) and a Deputy Prefect (1999-2000). He served in the Chamber of Deputies from 2000-2004. He has a background in finance and insurance and has also studied engineering. The 40-year-old Winkler speaks fluent English, as well as German and French, and is a graduate of the prestigious National Defense College. He is a valued Embassy interlocutor.
6. (C) Comment. In keeping with its campaign pledge, Tariceanu's cabinet list proposes to bring many relatively new faces into senior government positions. Few played significant roles in the controversial center-right 1996-2000 government. Moreover, few of the proposed ministers, in marked contrast to the outgoing ruling center-left Social Democratic Party (PSD) cabinet, are tainted by association with Romania's communist past. Many are simply too young. Assuming the Parliament green lights the proposed cabinet, Basescu and Tariceanu's "fresh faces" can anticipate a strong dose of realpolitik as they deal with savvy PSD legislators entrenched in key parliamentary leadership positions, including the presidencies of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. End Comment.
7. (U) Amembassy Bucharest,s reporting telegrams are available on the Bucharest SIPRNET Website: www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/bucharest . CROUCH