The ruling programme and the team of the Ponta II cabinet were voted with large majority on December 21st. 402 MPs voted for the new team and 120 against. As expected, the groups of USL and national minorities supported the new cabinet, while ARD, UDMR and PP-DD were against.
In order to pass, the government would have needed minimum 294 votes, representing the qualified majority of deputies and senators. Of the total number of 586 MPs, 522 attended the meeting. “The Parliament’s vote for the USL government may generate the end of a political landscape characterised by hatred, disunity, austerity and embezzlement of public money, incompetence and arrogance, as another political regime started its end 23 years ago,” PM Victor Ponta said in Parliament during the meeting dedicated to the vote for the new government. He referred to the PDL governance, which he said was characterised by hatred, disunity and embezzlement of public money, incompetence and arrogance towards the electorate. “This is not a government of the Apocalypse. The government of Apocalypse fell on April 27,” Ponta added, referring to the former Ungureanu cabinet.In his address delivered in Parliament, Ponta asked MPs to agree to collaborate over a new Constitution that will avoid new constitutional conflicts, for an administrative reorganisation of the country and for changing the present electoral system, which generated “serious skiddings” from the will of the electorate. He explained that a new Constitution is needed so nothing depends anymore from the will of only one person and, instead, everything will rely on rules accepted by everybody.Ponta also assured that he and his ministers consider that the political future of the country is European, adding that he wishes to make these clarifications because the political battle cast doubt over fundamental elements of Romania’s strategic policy. Romania’s commitments in relations with the European Union and NATO represent a set of values nobody wanted to reject, he added. At the same time, the premier emphasised that Romania must have a much clearer and more dignified position in the European construction, because it is the 7th largest country of the EU and can really contribute to this process, without being a second-line member of the European Union.In the address delivered during the session dedicated to voting the new government, PNL president Crin Antonescu told nominated PM Victor Ponta that he has “no boss” and, if a president appears to pretend this, he should not mind him. The Liberal leader told the premier that he is suported by the largest majority in Parliament after 1992 and assured him that it will grant him “entire support in all regards” and all the points of the ruling programme are assumed by PNL and the Liberal ministers.On the other hand, PDL president Vasile Blaga said that PDL respects the vote of Romanians, but will not support “a government born out of manipulation, lies and hypocrisy. Blaga added that PDL legislators do not support the Ponta government and will not vote for it, because it is “a mammoth cabinet.” “We are called upon today to validate the Apocalypse Government,” Civic Force senator and former PM Mihai Razvan Ungureanu accused. He added that, in this time of crisis throughout the European Union and at home, the list of ministers proposed by nominated PM Victor Ponta “is completely opposite to the government we need.”UDMR announced that it took the role of constructive opposition and will not vote for the new government, while the leader of the group of national minorities, Varujan Pambuccian said that the ruling programme is in line with the wishes of minorities, so they will vote this government “with the same hope the people voted for it.”
PNL-PSD argue at the last minute
USL co-presidents Victor Ponta and Crin Antonescu met just before the session of the Parliament to solve last-minute tensions that appeared between Liberals and Social-Democrats. According to the press, the tensions were generated by the premier’s intention to change the structure of the Executive, by making several modifications that affected ministries led by the Liberals. After this meeting, Ponta announced that the National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF) will remain within the Ministry of Finance, while its president and vice-presidents are appointed by the prime minister, same as until now. Ponta announced that the three delegate ministers will receive attributions specific to their functions through the OUG that will reorganise the Executive. On the other hand, the new Liberal minister of Transport, Relu Fenechiu (PNL) regrets the transfer of motorways under the control of the Ministry for Big Projects, led by Dan Sova (PSD), because he had projects which he has prepared for years, but declared himself convinced that he will collaborate well with the PSD minister. PNL leader Crin Antonescu however denied having any conflict with PSD over these subjects.
Basescu: You are doomed to have success
The members of the new Cabinet were sworn in at Cotroceni last Friday, on December 21. President Traian Basescu told the new ministers they were ‘doomed’ to have success, because, in that way, Romania, too, would have success and, if they did not have success, they would be the only ones responsible for it. ‘I must congratulate you on your electoral success and on your success in Parliament, today, where you received an extremely robust vote’, Basescu told the ministers. The president also congratulated the ministers on the extremely high commitments they had made: ‘If you fulfil them, you will be remembered by history as a government, as a majority that succeeded in bringing back Romanians their prosperity and that recovered the divide that separates us from the older EU member states’. Basescu told the members of the Cabinet they could always seek his assistance if they deemed it necessary, but added that, in his opinion, they ‘know everything, actually more than everything about this country.’ The president reiterated the fact that, in December 2008, the Government took over the country in crisis and with a huge deficit, but only some of the politicians had paid for the responsibility for macro-economic recovery. Traian Basescu ended his speech by wishing Romanians ‘Happy Holidays’ and ‘A year 2013 better than 2013’. The press noted that, when every minister passed in front of the president, Traian Basescu did not shake hands with Deputy PM Gabriel Oprea (UNPR), Interior Minister Radu Stroe (PNL) and Transport Minister Relu Fenechiu (PNL). Prime Minister Victor Ponta said that was just press ‘speculation’, adding that such ceremonies are always marked by moments of nervousness.