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Romania’s Cabinet Reshuffled, Includes Opposition Members

April 30, 1991

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ Premier Petre Roman brought three renegade members of opposing parties into the Cabinet on Monday in a reorganization of the National Salvation Front government.

Roman told Parliament he was disappointed the main opposition parties had refused ″for unjustified political reasons″ to join his government.

He pledged the new Cabinet would ″proceed without delay to small and large-scale privatization″ and would continue his other economic reforms.

The Senate overwhelmingly approved all the new appointees. After debate, the House of Deputies postponed a vote until Tuesday.

The Front enjoys a two-thirds majority in both chambers. It took power in the December 1989 anti-Communist revolution and won elections in May 1990. But it lost support after food prices doubled last month. A poll carried by the state news agency Rompres two weeks ago indicated party support was down to 31 percent.

As Roman addressed Parliament, hundreds of demonstrators stood outside the Senate building in pouring rain shouting for his resignation.

The main opposition parties said the new Cabinet fell short of what Ion Diaconescu of the National Peasant Party called ″public demand ... for new leadership.″

Domokos Geza of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania said Roman was ″fantasizing″ about economic recovery hopes.

Experts foresee continuing lowered production and millions of unemployed by the end of summer.

However, Roman’s ability to form the new Cabinet showed cracks had developed in the liberal movement, the main opposition to the center-left Front.

Dinu Patriciu, who last fall led a breakaway movement from the National Liberal Party, now has split his own Liberal Party-Youth Wing by agreeing to serve as public works minister.

Liberal Mihnea Marmeliuc agreed to again become labor minister, a post he held in Roman’s interim government from January to May 1990.

Valeriu Pescaru of the opposition Democratic Agrarian Party was appointed agricultural privatization minister.

The Liberals branded the changes ″a new maneuver to mislead public opinion.″

Gen. Nicolae Spiroiu, formerly acquisitions chief for the Defense Ministry, was made the new defense minister. He would replace Gen. Victor Stanculescu, who becomes industry minister.

Stanculescu, once the liaison between the army and Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s Securitate secret police, is the only minister to have been a member of the prerevolution elite.

Economics Minister Eugen Dijmarescu would also assume the post of finance minister, replacing Teodor Stolojan.

Stolojan and Commerce Minister Anton Vatasescu had resigned last month, complaining government economic reforms were insufficient. They were later persuaded to return to the government.

Vatasescu will stay on at commerce, but is expected soon to be named ambassador to France, sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Ion Aurel Stoica, who resigned as social protection minister three months ago to protest government accommodation of striking rail workers, returns as minister without portfolio. Stoica was recently elected secretary-general of the National Salvation Front.

Other proposed ministers, all from within the governing party, were Dan Mircea Popescu, social protection; Traian Basescu, public works; Radu Berceanu, youth and sports, and Florian Bercea, budget.

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