Retired three-star general touted as Romania’s next premier

Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea

Retired general, Nicolae Ciuca, formerly the Chief of Staff, who is known for his pro-Western views and is a favorite of President Klaus Iohannis is likely to be nominated for the post to head Romania’s efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

Romania faces a health and economic crisis and rolling out a vaccination campaign next year and Mr. Ciuca, 53, is seen as the best-placed person for the job, reports say.

The defense minister was appointed caretaker prime minister on Monday after Ludovic Orban resigned his post following a disappointing election result.

The three-star general met U.S. Ambassador Adrian Zuckerman for talks on Wednesday, fueling further speculation that he was in it for the long haul, as the Ambassador would not seek an audience with someone who was merely temporarily in the position.

The Liberals who came second to the Social Democrats in Sunday elections will form a governing alliance with the Save Romanian Union-PLUS and the ethnic Hungarian party.

However, USR-PLUS expressed reservations about a retired general holding the post.

“The military solutions are not long-term solutions since Romania is a European democratic state,” chairman Dan Barna said. He added that each party would present its own  own candidate, and President Iohannis would make the final pick who then needs to be approved by Parliament.

USR-Plus favors former Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos, a former EU Commissioner for Agriculture who served as prime minister in 2016.

Mr. Ciuca graduated military school in Craiova, southern Romania in 1985, and has stayed in the military ever since. He served in Angola from 1996 to 1997 and later in Turkey and Kosovo.

He was named Chief of Staff by Iohannis in 2015,  and has received numerous awards including the National Order of Merit Commander by France’s ambassador to Romania, Michele Ramis in 2015.

He  is viewed as a “fighting general” has domestic and foreign credibility to the current efforts to modernize Romania’s military.


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