President urges Parliament to rush no-confidence vote

Senate Speaker slams proposal as “useless,” wants debates to go on as planned. Opposition MPs reject call, say it’s unacceptable for the head of state to order lawmakers’ schedule.

President Traian Basescu sent a letter to Parliament leaders asking them to advance the debate on the no-confidence vote, according to a press release from Cotroceni Palace. Shortly after, Chamber of Deputies Speaker Roberta Anastase announced she was waiting for a response from Senate Speaker Mircea Geoana to summon the joint Standing Bureaus.

Anastase told Mediafax that she had received a letter from the head of state, asking her to advance the no-confidence vote debate, on the grounds that the constitutional terms for the debate would run out. She said that she got in touch with the Speaker of the Senate, Geoana, with a view to summoning the two Chambers’ Standing Bureaus.

According to the Constitution, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, in a joint meeting, may withdraw the confidence granted to the Government by adopting a no-confidence motion, if the majority of deputies and senators vote in favour of the said motion.

The no-confidence motion is debated three days after the date on which it was raised in the two Chambers’ joint meeting. Basescu claims in his letter that the three days should be successive days, not working days, as calculated by the opposition. The text of the motion was read in Parliament on Wednesday and debates and vote are scheduled for Tuesday, June 15. The no-confidence vote was initiated by the Social Democrats, in response to the government’s austerity measures. But Senate Speaker Geoana, a member of the opposition PSD, turned down the proposal as “useless,” since a date for debates and the motion has already been set.

Opposition Liberal Party’s Mihai Voicu, who is secretary of the Chamber of Deputies, said President Basescu’s involvement was unacceptable and underlined that even the PDL agreed to the initial timetable for the no-confidence vote. PSD leader Victor Ponta too slammed Basescu’s move.

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