Romanian Government falls after Parliament passes no-confidence motion

The no-confidence motion against the Government led by Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu has passed the Parliament vote today, June 21, as 241 MPs voted in favor, more than the needed number of votes of 233.

This is a first in Romanian politics, as the governing coalition filed the no-confidence motion against its own Government.

The coalition made of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) withdrew the political support for the Government last week, claiming that the cabinet led by Sorin Grindeanu failed to apply the governing program. As the Prime Minister refused to resign, the coalition filed a no-confidence motion against its own Government.

Next, President Klaus Iohannis will nominate a new Prime Minister based on the political parties’ proposals.

Both PSD leader Liviu Dragnea and Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu addressed the Parliament before the vote on the no-confidence motion. While Grindeanu said that he didn’t understand why this vote was needed, as the Government he led did a good job so far, Dragnea said that, although the party never wanted to reach this point, the Government did its job “quite well”, but this “quite well” is not enough.

Moreover, during their speeches, both officials accused each other of promising fellow MPs jobs and seats in the future Government in return for their vote.

At the beginning of his speech, Grindeanu reminded his fellow MPs that Liviu Dragnea was the one who proposed him to be Prime Minister and, although he said no at first, he later accepted the proposal because Dragnea “promised he would be my friend.” He also said that he accepted the ministers the PSD leader proposed, just to find six months later that “the Government is not really doing its job, that the ministers are good, but not too good.”

“And everything was based on an analysis that no one from the party saw, an analysis that more and more colleagues see as not being correct.”

He also expressed his belief that such an analysis was not needed, as the Government was doing a good job, and the economy is on an upward trend.

“I do not understand why we are here in the Parliament today. And I’m telling you, just as clearly, that I think that Romanians do not understand why so much scandal today within PSD, less than six months after we won the elections with a smashing score; and the things and the Government are going very well. I look around and I realize that most of you do not understand,” Grindeanu added.

He also said that he decided not to resign as requested, because he didn’t want president Klaus Ioahnnis to have all the power once again, as it happened the first time when the ruling coalition made Prime Minister proposals. According to him, in this case, PSD may lose the Prime Minister seat.

At the end of his speech, Sorin Grindeanu urged the MPs “to not be afraid”, and to vote against the motion.

Then, Liviu Dragnea explained why the ruling coalition decided to file this no-confidence motion against its own Government.

“The Prime Minister and the Government to whom we jointly entrusted the most ambitious governing program since 1989 did not perform as we had hoped. The Government did its job quite well, but this is not enough if we consider what have we promised. We wouldn’t have gotten the seats in the Parliament if we would have promised that Romania would do just well,” Dragnea said in front of his fellow MPs before the vote.

He also said that, although he didn’t want to get to this point, he also didn’t want to pretend that everything was fine when it wasn’t.

Referring to the appointment of Sorin Grindeanu as Prime Minister, Dragnea said: “I believed a lot in Sorin Grindeanu. I’ll admit this. I was not joking, I didn’t do it as a joke, I thought this was the best solution for us. Unfortunately, he clings to the chair in the most unlawful way.”

He concluded his speech by asking the MPs to vote for the no-confidence motion, because “things will go back to normal” if this motion passes, and Romania will “get a Government that is more devoted to its mission.”

Sorin Grindeanu took over as Prime Minister of Romania in January 2017, after PSD won the Parliamentary elections with a very high score. He was the second proposal made by the governing coalition, after President Klaus Iohannis rejected the first one – Sevil Shaidehh.

The Government led by Sorin Grindeanu survived a no-confidence motion in early February, less than a month after starting its activity. The motion was filed by the opposition parties after the cabinet decided to adopt an emergency ordinance that would have brought important changes to the Criminal Code. The ordinance also triggered massive street protests in Romania.

Irina Popescu, [email protected]