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May 18, 2021

Coalition put to major test in Parliament today

The opposition was yesterday just four votes short of passing the no-confidence vote against the Government. USL was hoping to get the rest until the end of the day.

Crucial day for the Government today. The ‘Stop the indebted Government! Not like this. Never again!’ censure motion introduced by the opposition will be debated and voted on by the combined Chambers of the Romanian Legislative. USL was still four votes short of the 231 – half plus one of all MPs (460) needed for passage. The opposition now has 223 votes (154 in the lower Chamber and 69 in the Senate) and the power counts on 210 votes – 147 in the Chamber and 63 in Senate. Practically on the last lap, parties making up USL yesterday sounded general mobilisation bells, trying to produce the missing votes. The last details were set to be taken care of at a meeting of the USL parliamentary political groups taking place at the lower Chamber in the evening. USL representatives however showed a general optimism throughout yesterday. Asked about the odds that the Ungureanu Government might be brought down, PNL Vice-President Dan Radu Rusanu looked optimistic, telling RFI yesterday that the opposition was four votes short of passage. ‘Practically, the seven missing votes had become about four and, in the course of today (Thursday – our note) I believe we will have the confirmation of the number of MPs necessary for the passage of the no-confidence vote, fall of the Ungureanu Cabinet and establishment of a new USL Government’, Rusanu is quoted by realitatea.net s having said. In his view, the relaxation displayed by some of the power leaders is ‘just a façade’. PSD Secretary General Liviu Dragnea in turn said that some of the MPs representing the minorities might support the censure motion. He meant the head of the national minorities’ group, Varujan Pambuccian. Dragnea took his rationale even further and said that, if the no-confidence vote was passed, USL would have to accept the government and Victor Ponta would have to be PM designate. ‘If Traian Basescu nominates anyone but Victor Ponta, the new majority (PSD, PNL, PC – our note) will not support him/her in Parliament. Then we would have two options: snap election or president impeachment or both,’ the PSD Secretary General said on Antena 3 TV. PSD Honourary President Ion Iliescu, on the other hand, does not share his opinion. He told ‘Gandul’ daily yesterday that it would be a mistake for Ponta to accept to become prime-minister if USL’s motion was passed. ‘I can see people push Victor Ponta to take that step. I think it would be a wrong step to take. We don’t need that. I don’t mean to be judgemental, but such opinions to me seem inadvertent,’ Iliescu said.

PDL stands united around PM Ungureanu

Yesterday was also a tour de force for the representatives of the power, who closed the ranks around PM Mihai Razvan Ungureanu. Exactly in keeping with this idea, PDL Senator Radu F. Alexandru yesterday decided to renounce on the position he had been offered as a member of the National Broadcasting Council (CNA) in order to be able to support PDL’s position in the no-confidence vote. ‘Since I was representing the Ungureanu Government on the CNA, it seemed appropriate that I should do this. (resign –our note)’, explained Senator Radu F. Alexandru. ‘It is my appreciation coming as a continuation of the numerous voices in PDL asking that we move to the opposition,’ explained the PDL senator. Ex-Transport Minister Anca Boagiu has a totally distinct opinion. Wednesday night, she said the no-confidence vote would not be passed because the opposition ‘has no appetite for ruling’ or the votes they would need. ‘The message to my colleagues is to hold themselves because those who wanted to betray have already betrayed,’ Boagiu said on Realitatea TV. On the other hand, President Traian Basescu yesterday refused to comment on the no-confidence vote, saying, on his way out of the Parliament, after a debate on the Bologna process, that ‘the subject is different’. The president also said nothing when asked if he would appoint Ponta as prime-minister or not. PDL has decided to sit out the no-confidence vote and recommends its ruling coalition partners UDMR, UNPR and other minorities to do the same. ‘We all have the same conduct, that the no-confidence vote is not passed,’ said PDL Secretary General Ioan Oltean. UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor in turn announced his party would not support the no-confidence vote, noting that 60 per cent of the Union MPs would be present in the plenary sitting hall today. ‘We don’t need to be there, the ones who introduced the motion should be. We will just be enough to secure the required attendance rate,’ Kelemen said.  PM Ungureanu sent a message from Warsaw yesterday, where he attended a business summit of central European countries with Chinese officials, drawing attention to the fact that politicians need to be aware of the relationship between political and economic stability when talking about the censure motion. He also stressed that the executive is prudent during this electoral year and determined to observe the governing programme.


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