Dacian Ciolos Romanian PM opens election campaign with call for change

He has received the support of the Liberals and the new Save Romania Union, the two main centre-right parties.

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Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos speaks during a meeting of the National Liberal Party (PNL) in Bucharest, on November 6, 2016 play

Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos speaks during a meeting of the National Liberal Party (PNL) in Bucharest, on November 6, 2016

(AFP)
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Romania's technocrat Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos on Sunday opened campaigning season for next month's general election with a call for change within political parties.

"We need change at the heart of the political parties... we must be guided by honesty and good sense," Ciolos told a gathering of the centre-right National Liberal Party (PNL). which supports the independent prime minister.

Romania, an EU member since 2007, has come under close scrutiny from Brussels in the areas of corruption and judicial reform.

Last month Ciolos, a former EU agriculture commissioner who has high approval ratings, launched a "reform of the state", calling for a broad coalition of political parties and civil society around to make it work.

He has received the support of the Liberals and the new Save Romania Union, the two main centre-right parties.

Both parties are opposed to the Social Democrats, the election favourites, and have said they would put forward Ciolos as premier if they win the general election on December 11.

Ciolos has said he will not stand as a lawmaker in the election or be affiliated to any of Romania's bickering political parties.

"I want to collaborate with parties whose goal is to give rather than receive. That's how we will regain confidence," the prime minister said.

Ciolos, 47, became premier last November heading a technocrat government after predecessor Victor Ponta resigned following a deadly blaze in a nightclub that killed 64 people.

Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos said, "We need change at the heart of the political parties... we must be guided by honesty and good sense" play

Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos said, "We need change at the heart of the political parties... we must be guided by honesty and good sense"

(AFP)

That tragedy led to widespread criticism of the political class, seen as widely corrupt to the point of overlooking fire safety regulations, and brought about the fall of the Social Democrat government of the day.

The bellwether corruption conviction in 2012 of ex-prime minister Adrian Nastase was a sign times were changing in EU's second-poorest country.

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