Romania PM Temporarily Steps Aside Citing Health ReasonsSoutheast Europe | June 22, 2015, Monday // 07:37| views
Romanian Prime Minster Victor Ponta. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta has announced he is vacating the office for some time for health reasons.
A government statement quoted by state-owned AGERPRES news agency reads that a leave of "up to 45 days" will be requested by President Klaus Iohannis in a letter.
Ponta will request that his deputy Gabriel Oprea be named as his replacement for this period.
Currently Oprea is also Minister of Interior.
The PM recently suffered an injury during a basketball game and is receiving treatment in Turkey. He wrote on Facebook he needed some time to recuperate after knee surgery.
The Government in Bucharest informed that he would need to "see a specialist daily, for the next 7 days. The complicated recovery process, including treatments and physical therapy, will take at least 14 days, which means that within maximum 28 days the head of the Executive will be able to resume his normal activity at the Victoria Palace [the Government office]."
In May, an investigation was launched into Ponta on suspicions of tax evasion and money laundering between 2007 and 2011 (he was not PM at the time) and also conflict of interest in 2012 over the appointment of a business associate as a minister in his cabinet.
The PM then refused to step down despite calls from President Iohannis.
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