Opposition parties slowly rally behind new liberal Govt. in Romania, but vote remains uncertain
Some of the opposition parties in Romania have reached agreements with Liberal leader Ludovic Orban to support his new Government at the endorsement vote in the Parliament. However, the new Orban cabinet is still short of its necessary majority, the latest developments show.
After more than ten days of fruitless negotiations, some of the parties that formally make the opposition in Romania’s Parliament and voted for the fall of the PSD cabinet led by Viorica Dancila, have officially stated their support for the new Government to be led by prime minister-designate Ludovic Orban.
Save Romania Union (USR), the second-biggest opposition party in the Parliament by number of MPs, announced that it would vote for the Orban cabinet after the National Liberal Party (PNL) accepted a collaboration agreement proposed by USR leader Dan Barna, which includes four large topics. The two parties agreed, among others, to change the electoral legislation and return to two rounds of voting for electing city mayors, to repeal the bill that allows the early release of convicted criminals, and to change the bill that allows the early retirement of magistrates.
“We have reached an agreement. We clearly demanded to maintain the objective of having early elections after the presidential elections. Prime minister-designate Orban agreed,” said Dan Barna, quoted by Digi24.ro.
Thus, the liberals, who have just under 100 MPs of the total 465 deputies and senators in Romania’s Parliament, can also count on USR’s 40 votes. The minimum number of votes required for having the new Government endorsed is 233.
PSD’s former junior coalition partner ALDE, a party that spun off PNL several years ago, under the leadership of former PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu, could also support the new cabinet after Orban accepted Tariceanu’s list of demands. One of these demands was that the liberals don’t take any other party in the new Government. ALDE specifically asked that the Orban cabinet doesn’t have any member from the Popular Movement Party (PMP) of former president Traian Basescu. The support of PMP, which initially announced it would support the Orban cabinet, is now uncertain.
The leader of the Democrat Hungarian Union (UDMR) Kelemen Hunor also suggested that his party would vote for the new cabinet to have it installed as soon as possible and end the political crisis. UDMR demanded that the new Government doesn’t pass any emergency ordinance in the field of justice.
However, if all these parties (USR, ALDE, UDMR, PMP) voted to support the PNL Government, Orban would still need several more votes to get the endorsement. As it’s unlikely that any MP of the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD) will vote for a liberal Government, the balance could be tipped by Pro Romania, the party of former prime minister Victor Ponta. Ponta’s party voted the no-confidence motion against the Dancila Government, but expressed preference for another social-democrat cabinet.
“We won’t vote this PNL Government,” Victor Ponta said on Wednesday morning, after another round of talks with Ludovic Orban. “If PNL really wants to change the criminal group at the Victoria Palace (the Dancila cabinet – e.n.), they have to come up with a serious project,” Ponta added, according to Hotnews.ro.
Ludovic Orban has to submit his list of ministers to the Parliament by Thursday, October 24. The hearings of the ministers and the confidence vote should, theoretically, take place next week. However, some believe that PSD, which still holds key positions in the Parliament’s leading bodies, could use procedural tricks to postpone the whole process.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos / Ilona Andrei)