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Jurnalul.ro Vechiul site Old site English Version Top Positions in the Ministry of Finance Will Be Filled In On Political Lines

Top Positions in the Ministry of Finance Will Be Filled In On Political Lines

21 Ian 2005   •   00:00

ECONOMICS - January 22nd 2005
Secretaries of State in the Ministry of Finance will be named on political criteria, though the minister in charge would have wanted them selected on professional criteria only.

Ionut Popescu will have his secretaries of state nominated by the parties in the ruling coalition
The Executive Bureau of the National Liberal Party decided on Thursday evening to name the secretaries of state in the Ministry of Finance solely on political criteria, though Ionut Popescu, the minister of finance, would have wanted to make his choice on professional grounds alone. According to NLP sources quoted by Mediafax wire services, Popescu disagreed with the decision being made.
He relied on the precedent at the Ministry of Justice, where the justice minister, Monica Macovei, got the support of President Traian Basescu and of PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu for naming secretaries of state which were not politically nominated. The issue of the nominations at the Ministry of Finance comes at a difficult time, with the International Monetary Fund delegation coming to Bucharest to analyze the economic steps taken by the Executive and its economic and monetary policies. The Ministry of Finance will have to find arguments to convince the IMF that it has resources enough to successfully sustain the 16% tax limit on profit and income, as well as an appraisal of pensions.

Popescu would have liked to keep Paul Ichim on the job, who was secretary of state during the SDP administration, but not a member of this party. Popescu also would have welcomed on a similar position Claudiu Doltu, also with no party affiliation, a professor with the Academy of Economic Studies, and former state adviser to former president Emil Constantinescu, between 1999 and 2000, and to Mugur Isarescu, the Governor of the National Bank of Romania, between 2001 and 2003.

Some of the members in the NLP leadership, like Dan Radu Rusanu and Eugen Nicolaescu, explained Popescu that keeping Paul Ichim on the job of secretary of state was out of the question since he served the SDP administration. Popescu replied that Ichim is a competent professional, but his arguments were overridden by his party colleagues. Tariceanu, the NLP leader and PM, had a reserved attitude throughout the meeting and did not openly support Popescu.

Consequently, Popescu was forced to accept Doina Leonte as one of the secretaries of state. She worked previously in the ministry, as deputy secretary of state, between 1996 and 2000. According to the political agreement, the NLP has to nominate two more secretaries of state, while the Democrat Party and the Romanian Humanist Party have to nominate one each. Some of the current secretaries of state may be relegated to positions of directors in the ministry, like Maria Manolescu, responsible for fiscal issues, Gheorghe Gherghina, responsible for budgetary issues, and Paul Ichim.

Translated by ANCA PADURARU
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