Ponta III cabinet approved by parliament


Crin Antonescu resigns as Senate Speaker. The decision was announced amid turmoil in parliamentfor validation of Ponta III cabinet. PNL, PDL and PP-DD voted against. President Basescu challengedthe new Cabinet, urging PM Ponta to pass its programme through Parliament by taking responsibility.

The Ponta III cabinet wasapproved yesterday evening by parliamentwith 346 votes for and 192votes against.The Parliament turned yesterday,during the validation of thenew Ponta Government, into a wartheatre between Victor Ponta andCrin Antonescu. After the PMthreatened Antonescu that he isgoing to lose his position of SenatePresident and revealed that thePNL leader is the one who proposedthe draft law on amnesty helater attacked himself, Antonescuannounced from the tribune of theplenum that he resigns from theSenate presidency. “My dear colleagues,I am resigning from theposition of Senate President,”announced Crin Antonescu in theplenum.Prior to this message, the PNLleader said in the plenum that hehas a proposal for PM VictorPonta: “Prime Minister VictorPonta, you see in my presence atthe helm of the Senate a sign thatUSL does not exist anymore. I cantell you, USL does not exist anymore.Do you have the courage, sothat we can both make sure, thatboth of us should resign from thepositions we obtained from USL?… I will resign nicely from theSenate presidency that USL gaveme, and you from the position ofprime minister, that USL gaveyou,” announced Antonescu inthe plenum of the two chambers.PM Ponta had said before thatUSL still exists under variousshapes in the Parliament, a thingproved by the fact that the presidents of the Senate and theChamber of Deputies were electedthrough USL and one cannot holdthat position saying there is noUSL anymore. Victor Ponta madea short comment on PNL leaderCrin Antonescu’s resignation fromthe Senate leadership, saying: “Hecommitted suicide!”

Parliament, PM Ponta said thathe hopes President Basescu willaccept the new Government, elsehe would severely infringe theConstitution.“I want to express my hopethat today we will enforce notjust the very clear and explicitconstitutional provisions of article85, paragraph 3 of theConstitution, which have beenused by the TariceanuGovernment in 2007 and theBoc Government in 2009, but Iexpress my hope that, politicalstatements aside, the president ofRomania will respect decision 98made by the ConstitutionalCourt in 2008, which clearlyrules: the decision of the supremerepresentative institution of theRomanian people, which is theParliament, is a mandatory actwhich the president cannotrefuse without taking a clearaction against the Constitution,”Ponta said, quoting from thedecision of the ConstitutionalCourt. The premier also sent themessage to the liberals that thenew Cabinet plans not to changethe flat tax rate of 16 pc and willdiscuss with the InternationalMonetary Fund in April abouttax-exempting the reinvestedprofit and lowering social insurancecontributions.PNL leader Crin Antonescuseemed unimpressed by the premier’sannouncement aboutpushing forward with the programmesof liberal ministers andreiterated that the liberals willnever vote “a reformulated government.”Nevertheless he saidthat, in the opinion of liberals,“no article of the Constitution isinfringed” and if it is voted bythe Parliament, the governmentwill be legal, but “politically andmorally illegitimate.”“I was listening to the primeminister, the same as inDecember 2012, invoking a programme,the same as in 2012,telling us the same nice, appealingand convincing words. Iunderstand that some people,members of the Parliament, partiesand citizens are tempted tobelieve them,” Antonescu mentioned,adding that he and PNLcannot trust anymore the promisesof the premier. The otherparties that voted against thePonta III cabinet were PDL andPP-DD.PRESIDENT BASESCU URGESPM PONTA TO PASS NEWRULING PROGRAMME THROUGHPARLIAMENT BY ASSUMINGRESPONSIBILITYRomanian President TraianBasescu says Prime Minister VictorPonta should pass the new rulingprogramme through Parliament byassuming responsibility for it, i.e.by seeking a vote of confidence,before the composition of his newGovernment is approved. ‘Beforeapproving the composition of thenew Government, (Victor Ponta -editor’s note) should pass the newruling programme throughParliament by taking responsibility.I assure you this is no stratagem;it is a condition of the legitimacyof the new governmental structure,following the change of the politicalstructure of the majority backingthe Government. We cannotgo on with a programme in whichmany times the USL (SocialLiberal Union – editor’s note) ismentioned, when the USL is nolonger in government,’ Basescusaid at the presidential CotroceniPalace on Tuesday.The head of state added that,if the government will takeresponsibility for the ruling programme,even if a no-confidencemotion is filed, he will not waitfor the vote and will immediatelyappoint the new ministers.According to the president, forcinga vote without modifying theruling programme is risky: it canbe challenged at the CC by 50members of the Parliament,which will actually happen, andwill start a conflict betweenPresidency and Parliament.Basescu warned that, if the governmentwill not take responsibilityfor the ruling programme,“there will be a challenge at theCC and they will have to waituntil the Court gives a verdict.”“There is no contradiction, Iwill not wait for an eventual effectof a no-confidence motion againstthe taking of responsibility for theprogramme, I will validate theministers tonight. But if the programmeis not passed by takingresponsibility, I am obliged to waituntil the Constitutional Courtpronounces over a possible challengeof the decision at the CC. Ibelieve this is the road to take,” thepresident mentioned. TraianBasescu affirmed that he does notwant to create a Romanian-styleprecedent: “it can work this way,too.” “This is not how it works, weneed rigor in politics and in theoperation of institutions,” the presidentadded. As for the new ministers,Basescu said that he mustappoint them, “like it or not, it isirrelevant.”Earlier in the day, Basescuwrote a letter Ponta, asking him totake the necessary steps for thecompliance with the constitutionalprovisions on installing the newCabinet. ‘Therefore, before theRomanian Parliament approvesyour proposal of modifications tothe Government’s structure andpolitical composition, you mustask the Parliament’s vote on a newgoverning programme, based onthe new political composition,’ thePresident’s letter to the Premiermentions.Basescu wrote to Ponta thatfollowing the political agreementssigned by the latter, the newCabinet has the support of theSocial Democrat Party (PSD),Conservative Party (PC), NationalUnion for Romania’s Progress(UNPR), Hungarian DemocraticUnion of Romania (UDMR), andof the ethnic minorities representedin the Parliament, and the ‘newconfiguration’ is bound to generate‘a deep fracture’ of the citizens’ votein the December 2012 elections,which ‘by an overwhelming majority’has entrusted the Social LiberalUnion (USL) with the mandate offorming the Executive.PDL WILL CHALLENGE THENEW GOVERNMENT TO CCIF A NEW RULING PROGRAMMEIS NOT ASSUMEDThe democrat liberals alreadyannounced that they will challengeat the Constitutional Court theParliament’s decision to validatethe new government, if it will nottake responsibility for a new rulingprogramme. “We decided in thejoint parliamentary groups to challengeat CC if things continue thisway and they modify their rulingprogramme through this arrangementwith UDMR,” PDL presidentVasile Blaga said yesterday

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