The Health Minister is the sixth official of the Romanian cabinet to resign in recent months.Romania’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta became on Tuesday an interim Health Minister, following unexpected resignation of Vasile Cepoi from the cabinet.
In recent days, Cepoi has been accused of conflict of interest and corruption by the National Integrity Agency, for allegedly having used European funds while holding a public office.
Cepoi denied any wrongdoing and said he is resigning in order to protect the public image of the Health Ministry.
Analysts say that the Ministry of Health will be headed by the current under secretary of state, Raed Arafat, a Palestinian-born doctor who is well known for creating an efficient medical emergency system in the country. Arafat will hold the post until December 9, when general elections are to be held.
“As the center-left ruling coalition is continuously losing its credibility, Mr Cepoi had to resign from his post. Furthermore, it is a good thing that the government named a real professional to be in charge of the Health Ministry,” says journalist Emilia Ene.
Romania’s new government won parliamentary approval on May 7. Since then, six ministers have resigned for alleged corruption and misconduct. Among them, the Education Minister, Ioan Mang, resigned as a result of a row over his alleged plagiarism of scientific papers.
The Culture Minister, Mircea Diaconu, resigned following a ruling by the Supreme Court that bans him from holding public office for three years. He was penalised because held the position of manager of a public theater while being a Senator as well, contrary to Romanian laws.
Furthermore, the ministers of interior and justice, respectively, resigned in August following political pressures in connection with the referendum on impeachment of the Romanian president, Traian Basescu.