The negotiations for installing a new Government in Romania are advancing rather slowly despite the declared optimism of designated prime minister, liberal Ludovic Orban, who believes he could have his new team validated by the Parliament next week.
“If the partners who have been with us for the no-confidence motion (against the PSD Government led by Viorica Dancila – e.n.) go all the way, I am confident we will have high chances of getting the confidence vote in the first try,” Orban said on Sunday, after several days of negotiations with the other political parties in the Parliament.
Orban also said he would present his team to the Parliament by the end of the week so that the minister candidates can be heard by the Parliament’s specialty committees on Monday or Tuesday and the vote can take place on Tuesday or Wednesday (October 30), according to News.ro.
On Thursday, October 10, the Parliament dismissed the PSD cabinet of Viorica Dancila by no-confidence motion, and, on Tuesday, October 15, president Klaus Iohannis named Ludovic Orban, the leader of the National Liberal Party (PNL), the biggest opposition party in the Parliament, to form the new Government.
However, gaining political support for a new Government seems to be a lot more difficult than convincing the other parties in the Parliament to vote against the existing one. Thus, the partners that helped PNL remove the Dancila cabinet have come with lists of demands for supporting Orban’s new cabinet. Moreover, some of these demands are conflicting, which means that the designated PM still has a difficult task in front of him.
PNL has 95 seats in the Parliament out of a total of 465. Orban thus needs to convince at least 233 MPs (137 outside his own party) to support his cabinet. The no-confidence motion against the Dancila Government was voted by 237 MPs.
However, PNL can’t even count on its (theoretically) closest ally, Save Romania Union (USR), which is also the second-biggest opposition party. Although USR has been criticizing the PSD rule just as PNL has in recent years, the party refused to join the new Government. Moreover, USR has conditioned its vote for the Orban cabinet of passing several reforms in the Parliament. The bills requested by USR are those amending the local elections (to return to a two-round voting system), abrogating the early release of delinquents (for inadequate conditions in penitentiaries), and barring the access to public positions for those already convicted for criminal deeds, an initiative for which USR gathered one million signatures.
“If we have these projects adopted, we will be able to move on without any problem. If there’s no majority, then we have a major crisis. The stake of these days is testing this majority. If there is a majority, there’s no doubt that these measures can be adopted. If not, then we don’t have a majority and we don’t have what to vote,” Dan Barna said on Monday morning, according to Digi24.ro. However, in the afternoon, the leaders of caucuses in Parliament rejected all the bills on Monday afternoon, leading Barna to declare that “unfortunately, there’s no majority yet”, according to G4Media.ro.
Meanwhile, Ludovic Orban said his party would support USR’s reforms, but that it couldn’t be accountable for what PSD or other parties vote. “I can’t understand such a position,” Orban said.
Thus, the liberals are rather far from the target to gather 233 votes. So far, the Popular Movement Party (PMP) of former president Traian Basescu seems to be most inclined to vote Orban’s new cabinet.
Meanwhile, PRO Romania, the party of former PM Victor Ponta, said it would only consider negotiations to support a liberal Government if its votes would be all that’s left to tip the balance one way or another, which means that the other parties would already have to be aligned in supporting the new Government.
Thus, the Government of Viorica Dancila, although dismissed by the Parliament, continues to manage day to day affairs in Romania, until a new cabinet will be sworn in. If Orban fails to get the Parliament’s endorsement next week, as he hopes, the installation of a new Government could be delayed until after the presidential elections in November.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos / George Calin)