On May 13, the Liberals filed the motion titled ‘Stop the Ponta 3 Government, a government of corruption, demagoguery and lies.’ According to the text of the motion, the Government headed by Victor Ponta is bringing Romania back to the ‘dark and corrupted horizon of 2001-2004,’ and even to the times of before 1989, when a single party had captured the entire country.
The joint Standing Bureaus of the two Parliament Chambers decided yesterday that the censure motion filed by PNL against the Ponta Cabinet be read in the Parliament plenum Thursday, May 24, and for the debate to be held May 26, the day after the European Parliametnary elections.
In making the announcement, Valeriu Zgonea, Chamber of Deputies Speaker and PSD member, said the vote was 11 to 8 in favour with 2 abstentions. The members of PSD, PC, and UNPR took part in both yesterday’s and the previous joint Permanent Bureau meeting, while the opposition, contrary to expectations, did not show, he added.
‘I ask the members of the Opposition to understand they must come, be present, for this reason they are paid, in order for a quorum to be reached. The obligation of the quorum exists, it always did and will, because it’s not like we are here to chitchat. (…) the members of the Standing Bureau of PDL, PNL and PP-DD are bound to attend the meeting. According to the regulation, I convened a joint meeting when the motion was submitted. Because they refused to come, now we should take away an amount of their wages,’ Zgonea said, quoted by Agerpres. In addition, the Chamber’s Speaker advocated for a cut in benefits for the Permanent Bureau representatives of PDL, PNL, and PPDD who were absent from this forum meeting last Tuesday. He underlined that applying sanctions to truants is not his responsibility, but the Secretary General’s.
The Standing Bureaus’ decision is in violation of the Regulation, Antonescu says
PNL leader Crin Antonescu claims the joint Standing Bureaus’ decisions regarding the censure motion presentation and debate schedule are in violation of the Regulations. The Liberal leader believes Victor Ponta does not have the necessary backbone to discuss the governance, despite being in a solid majority. According to Antonescu, Ponta and “PSD’s satellites” are afraid to enagage in a serious economic debate, while the Prime Minister “is the personal patron and protector of acts or intended acts of corruption and a feudalized Romania divided by PSD.” “Ponta is used to soliloquizing without being interrupted by the moderators who have been hired to praise him, and telling the same story at the start of every government session of how well everything is in Romania, about how nice our life is in the new PSD era, except for one problem – PNL’s refusal to align itself to his vision,” the Liberal remarked.
When asked to comment on the Chamber of Deputies Speaker’s accusation that PNL representatives failed to ensure the necessary number of voters in the Permanent Bureau meetings, Antonescu replied, “(…) Zgonea has nothing to do with out attendance; this only concerns us. We had the required number of attendants, but Zgonea’s responsibility was to apply the Regulations.” In response to a question about the MPs’ attendance rate at the motion reading session this coming Thursday, given it will be the second-last electoral campaign day, Antonescu said, “The attendance will be reasonable. Attendance will be essential in the debate and voting session.”
In turn, PNL leader George Scutaru announced the Liberals would notify the Parliamentary legal commissions with regard to Regulation violations committed by Valeriu Zgonea, Chamber of Deputies chairman, and Calin Popescu Tariceanu, Senate Chairman. PDL chairman Vasile Blaga agreed that postponing the censure motion reading session is in fact in violation of the two Chambers’ regulations, but added he does not believe this will pose any problems for PSD. “There’s nothing we can do; we can’t provide the necessary 55 persons for a quorum to read the motion in the joint Chambers,” Blaga explained. According to him, PSD representatives deliberately do not wish to ensure the Parliament quorum necessary for a reading of the censure motion.
In turn, Zgonea said the PNL leader should read the regulations instead of accusing the ruling alliance of being irresponsible. “I am sorry to see that the country is being run by a president who has trouble waking up. For this reason, I set up the joint Permanent Bureaus meeting at 12.00 at noon, to ensure Mr. Antonescu can at least see or listen to us on TV or perhaps answer Mr. Scutaru or Mr. Hasotti’s calls,” Zgonea added ironically.
On the other side of the aisle, Tariceanu has released a statement justifying his abstention in the vote on PNL’s censure motion schedule by arguing that he did not wish to tip the balance one way or the other as he is an independent.