Romania: Party tactics in view of early elections

Romania: Party tactics in view of early elections

Ludovic Orban tabled on Monday the composition of the new government, unchanged from its previous cabinet composition, as well as the updated government program.

The presidencies of the House and Senate decided today at noon the timetable for the new Orban Government and the hearings of the candidates for the new Ministers in the relevant committees will be held on 17, 18 and 19 February. The secret ballot on whether or not to vote in the Government will be held in plenary after two weeks on 24 February at 16:00 (local time).

The Parliament and the Presidency of the Republic have until 14 February to present their positions on Ludovic Orban being assigned for the second time a government mandate, as announced by the Constitutional Court; the date the Constitutional Court will convene will be established later.

PSD appealed to the Constitutional Court yesterday citing a constitutional conflict between the two state authorities over the discretionary and abusive exercise of presidential powers by Klaus Iohannis.

PSD specifically states in its appeal that, ‘by appointing Mr. Ludovic Orban Prime Minister-designate, the President of Romania is violating the will of Parliament, which has just withdrawn its confidence (in him) with the recent motion of censure. Rejecting the nomination of a candidate for Prime Minister by a parliamentary majority, the Romanian President will, as he has stated, trigger a legal conflict of a constitutional nature, preventing the formation of a government, with the stated aim of dissolving Parliament and leading to early elections, the appeal states.

President Klaus Iohannis is accused of violating art. 89 par. 1 of the Constitution directly stating that he was aiming at “early elections” and sustaining the government crisis for more than 60 days as a means to achieve his goal.

Prime Minister Ludovic Orban will be meeting today in the Prime Minister’s Office with representatives of parliamentary parties on the subject of early elections.

Yesterday, Orban said that the Liberals would be proceeding with all the necessary actions, consultations, negotiations to get to early elections.

To begin with, he will be focusing on persuading PMP. Its chairman, Eugen Tomac, said on Sunday that his party (which is facing the risk of staying out of parliament) is not afraid of early elections, which however considers to be a “political whim”, while he believes this year was a “loss” in terms of the implementation of the programs needed by the Romanians.

USR President Dan Barna announced last Thursday that he had conveyed to President Iohannis his party’s decision to support the scenario of calling for early elections. “We will vote (…) to ensure that the next government does not have the support of Parliament and to take the next step towards early elections”, he stressed.

UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor, for his part, stressed in his statements that early parliamentary elections on the same day as municipal elections were not in line with the constitution. He clarified that early parliamentary elections could be held at the earliest on 5 July.

ALDE President Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu also believes that the outcome of the early elections “does not seem appropriate” to him, as he said it would have a negative political and economic impact, and the time that will be saved by holding elections on the scheduled date (in the fall) will be insignificant.

Pro România leader Victor Ponta said that giving Orban a government mandate was not a “serious thing” and he was convinced Klaus Iohannis’ proposal will not receive Parliament’s approval.

The MPs from the ethnic minority organizations do not wish for early elections to happen and will support the Prime Minister-designate, as announced by their leader.

Transitional PSD president Marcel Ciolacu reiterated yesterday that Prime Minister-designate Ludovic Orban was nominated by a party that did not vote for him and reiterated that there had been no consultation with PNL on early elections.

He also said added he would not be attending the consultations for early elections if asked by Orban.

Press reports note that behind closed doors the majority of PSD leaders have been in favor of early elections. At the same time, however, the party leaders decided, at an Executive Committee meeting, not to backtrack on their appeal to the Constitutional Court.

At the Executive Committee meeting, PSD leaders did not take a specific position on the issue of early elections. The so-called “Barons” of the party were in favor, while Members/Senators avoided picking a side. Sources within PSD argue that the party is currently split in half: one party, led by the current leadership, supports early elections, whereas the other half is trying to postpone them.

The party’s top three leaders have pledged to hold local and parliamentary elections on the same day.

Opinion polls demanded by the PSD leadership to determine whether or not the party would win in the early elections in June showed that the party did not suprass 20%.

Nevertheless, leaders such as Mr. Stănescu and Ciolacu appear in favor of early elections, believing that the mobilization of mayors will increase the chances of minimizing the damage for PSD in the general elections.

The PSD leader has appointed Claudiu Manda to head the party’s election campaign, assisted by former Prime Minister Mihai Tudose, who recently returned to the party. The two experienced election executives must present by Wednesday their team of associates and executives who will be chaired by local community presidents for the different regions. (Agerpres)

All the steps taken by PSD show that, although at the level of statements the party leaders oppose PNL, in fact the Social Democrats have already entered the game of early elections. /ibna