Romania’s Social Democratic Party (PSD) decided, in the Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday, February 19, to boycott the joint sitting of the Parliament for voting the new Government of prime minister Ludovic Orban. The confidence vote on the new Government is scheduled to take place on Monday, February 24.
The PSD boycott could prevent the parliament from reaching the necessary quorum for voting the Government, which would delay the schedule for organizing early elections, according to G4Media.ro.
On Tuesday, the Senate, where PSD holds the majority of seats, rejected the bill for enacting an emergency ordinance adopted by the Orban cabinet that sets new rules for organizing early elections, including a shorter schedule. The Constitutional Court is also expected to rule if the ordinance is constitutional or not.
PSD explained in a Facebook post why the liberals want to organize early elections: “They want the Romanians’ votes before the bills explode!” According to PSD, one of the first measures taken by the Liberal Government was to overrule the provisions of the emergency ordinance (OUG) 114 adopted by the former Social Democrat Government in December 2018, which introduced extra taxes for banks, energy companies and telecoms, and capped energy and gas prices for households.
Meanwhile, PSD doesn’t want early elections because it would lose. The party now holds close to a majority of seats in the Parliament, won in the December 2016 elections. Meanwhile, the most recent polls show the Liberals far in front of the PSD in the intended vote. A poll presented in the PSD CEx meeting shows PNL in front, with 38% of the intended vote, followed by PSD, with 27%, and USR – 14%, according to Digi24.ro. However, the PSD leaders feel that the anti-PSD wave seen in 2019 has somehow faded. Meanwhile, the Liberals have already started to lose support as earlier polls showed them at over 40-45%.
This is why the Liberals and president Klaus Iohannis agreed in January to trigger early elections instead of waiting for the term elections that are scheduled to take place in November or December.
Moreover, the Liberals hope that early elections would help them secure a majority in the Parliament to support deeper reforms and, possibly, a review of the populist measures passed by the PSD majority, including a 40% increase in pensions and a doubling of the allowances for children.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea)