Romania: Monday’s voting on the new Government might not be happening

Romania: Monday’s voting on the new Government might not be happening

The last five candidates for a ministerial position in the Orban II government are being heard by the relevant House and Senate committees today.

In the past two days, only three of the nominated ministers have received favorable opinion from the committees: the candidate Minister of Defense, Nicolae Ciucă; the Minister of Economy, Energy and the Business Environment; Virgil Popescu; and Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu.

PSD stated through its parliamentary caucus chairman Alfred Simonis that it would be requesting the replacement of ministers who received a negative opinion.

Should Prime Minister-designate Ludovic Orban not nominate new candidates for the relevant ministerial portfolios, PSD will boycott Monday’s meeting. As is well known, many party organizations are trying to block the timetable leading to early elections.

On the other hand, PSD’s strategy will also depend on the outcome of today’s Senate plenary vote on the urgent government decree on early elections. The decree was published in the Official Gazette but received a negative opinion, with PSD Transitional President Marcel Ciolacu immediately announcing that he was appealing to the Ombudsman.

Just now it was announced that the Senate had rejected an emergency decree on early elections with 86 votes in favor and 34 against, which contained a provision that reduced the period for announcing early elections from 90 to 50 days.

The decree also received a negative vote yesterday from the Senate Legal Committee, on the proposal of UDMR and with the votes of PSD and ALDE.

The decree is now being sent back to the House, which is the body that will provide the deciding vote.

Yesterday the transitional president of PSD Marcel Ciolacu, the president of Pro România Victor Ponta, and the president of ALDE Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu requested that the Ombudsman appeals to the Constitutional Court not only for the urgent a decree on early elections, but also on other decrees approved by the Government on the night of 4 February. The same decision was announced earlier by UDMR President Kelemen Hunor. Citizen Ombudsman Renate Weber said the appeal for the health care decree was ready, while she was considering appealing for the election law ordinance.

On Wednesday afternoon, the PSD Executive Committee will meet to decide whether or not its deputies and senators will be present at Monday’s voting procedure.

Other issues to be discussed include amending the Articles of Association and organizational issues for the Conference to decide upon the party’s leadership. The date of the Conference’s holding will likely be 29 February and it will probably be held in Parliament and not in Sala Palatului, as was the case back in June 2019, when Viorica Dăncilă was elected President of PSD. The “official” excuse is that there will be fewer delegates.

Referring to Parliament’s vote on the new government, Ludovic Orban said last night that he was not able to guarantee 100% that there would be a quorum on Monday.

As the PSD Executive Committee meets, PNL leaders will meet in search of ways to neutralize the plans of their political opponents.

The urgent meeting was convened this afternoon by President Klaus Iohannis. It will be attended by PNL President Ludovic Orban, Vice Presidents Iulian Dumitrescu, Rareș Bogdan and Raluca Turcan, as well as Dan Motreanu and Alina Gorghiu.

The question for PNL remains what it will do in the event that PSD is really absent from Monday’s vote.

Political analysts point out that PSD’s intention to boycott Monday’s vote may indeed lead to the early elections, a key target of President Iohannis and PNL, being called off. /ibna