Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis and prime minister Ludovic Orban have agreed on starting the process for organizing early elections, PM Orban announced after a one-hour meeting with the president on Friday, January 10.
“I say it clearly, the President of Romania and I have decided that it is best for Romania to trigger early elections,” the prime minister said, quoted by Digi24.ro.
He added that a working group has been appointed to handle negotiations with other political parties and gather support for the procedure for triggering early elections. The PM hopes that the early elections can be organize around the same time as the elections for the local administration, scheduled to take place in May this year.
Orban explained that early elections are needed because the former ruling party – the Social Democratic Party (PSD) – has been acting like a brake in the Parliament. Although Orban’s National Liberal Party (PNL) managed to remove the PSD from power in October, through a no-confidence motion, and install its own Government in November, the Social Democrats still hold the most seats in the Parliament and have been able to block some of the Government’s initiatives or pass others that the Government didn’t agree with.
However, Ludovic Orban refused to answer if he would resign to begin the procedure for triggering the anticipations, saying just that he and his party – PNL are 100% committed to early elections. “There are two solutions to trigger the procedure, depending on the evolution of events we will opt for one of the two solutions. I would prefer not to enter into tactical discussions now,” said the PNL president.
The procedure for organizing early elections in Romania is very complicated due to the Constitution, which is why such elections have never taken place in the country in the last 30 years. It required that the prime minister resigns or is dismissed by no-confidence motion and then the Parliament rejects two Government formulas. Thus, the Parliament plays a key role in this process.
However, early elections mean that the president dissolves the Parliament first. Thus, existing MPs don’t get to complete their terms, which is why many don’t embrace such a scenario as they are not sure they will get re-elected. Moreover, some consider there is no need for snap elections, as parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in Romania at the end of this year.
The PSD, which holds close to half of the seats in the Parliament, opposes early elections. “Why force early elections when we have term elections this year? Because we think we're better off in the polls? It is a democratic abuse,” PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu said, according to Digi24.ro.
Meanwhile, the third-biggest party in the Parliament, Save Romania Union (USR), saluted the PMs statement. USR has been calling for early elections since last year and this was one of the conditions for supporting the Orban cabinet.
“Since the middle of last year, I have said that, in the current parliamentary configuration, a reformist majority is impossible to build. Therefore, early elections are the only solution that can lead to the creation of such a majority that reflects the Romanians' desire to quickly raise above the current ambiguity,” USR leader Dan Barna wrote on Facebook.
It remains to be seen, however, if the other political parties that have supported the Orban cabinet share the same opinion.
The Liberals are likely to benefit the most from early elections, as their party has doubled its score in electoral polls to 45%, as of December 2019. Meanwhile, PSD’s score went down to under 20%. USR and PLUS are at around 15%, according to an electoral barometer released by Europa FM radio station. However, with a difficult year ahead and a strained budget, PNL’s score can only go down by December, when term elections are scheduled.
(Photo source: presidency.ro)
In a public speech on January 10, Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis said that he agrees with holding early general...