The National Liberal Party (PNL) on Monday tabled its forth no-confidence vote against the Ponta Government. This time, the subject is the PM’s lack of credibility after he has been brought to trial in the Rovinari-Turceni case. The motion for the no-confidence vote initiated by PNL will be read out on Wednesday, from 10:00 and debated on the following Tuesday in joint plenary session, from 10:00.
PNL has 175 votes, but they will need half of the total number of MPs plus one. PNL counts on: 25 votes from UDMR, 61 from UNPR, 23 from the non-affiliated and 17 from the national minorities, according to Realitatea TV.
The motion is called ‘Choose between Romania and Ponta, a compromised premier. Dismiss Ponta!’ In the body of the motion, the Liberals raise the charges made against Victor Ponta: falsification of documents, money laundering and complicity in abuse of power and claim that they make it impossible for Ponta, at least from a moral point of view, to perform as prime-minister. In addition, they allege that, being a defendant, Ponta hurts the image and credibility of the country abroad.
‘A prime-minister charged with falsifying documents cannot sign normative acts for Romania, a prime-minister charged with complicity in tax evasion cannot warrant the budget of Romania, a prime-minister brought to justice for money laundering cannot be handed over the taxes paid by Romanians, a prime-minister charged for corruption cannot warrant a fair election in 2016, such a prime-minister will only negotiate with the IMF from the steps of the courthouse, in the respite between two court dates. Ladies and gentlemen senators and deputies, we are asking you today to end, in the last hour, this shameful situation we are in’, the motion reads.
Not least, PNL has asked UNPR President Gabriel Oprea to support the motion because it was in the best interest of the nation.
‘Mr. Gabriel Oprea, we want you to tell us all, right now, what the national interest requiring keeping Victor Ponta at the price of undermining the credibility of this country is. Weigh your promise to Victor Ponta against the interest of this people. What are you going to choose?!’
PNL also refers in the motion to Liviu Dragnea, whom they warn that, by supporting Ponta, is just ‘selling illusions to Romanians’. ‘What is PSD going to choose – Romania or Victor Ponta?!’ PNL asks in the motion. ‘If you stand by Ponta, that makes you his accomplices’, the Liberals also say.
PNL co-president Alina Gorghiu has recently said during a press conference that, because of the prime-minister’s refusal to resign office, ‘Romania looks like a state that tolerates corruption, a state that, unfortunately, is degrading’. She called on the parties on the ruling coalition to put the national interest first.
‘The ball is in the court of Mr. Oprea now, in the court of Mr. Tariceanu or of Mr. Dragnea’s’, said Gorghiu in Alba Iulia, on Sunday.
At the same time, PNL co-president Vasile Blaga said the Liberals would support a government headed by Catalin Predoiu, the candidate designated by the party for the office, and added that government formulas could not be discussed before the no-confidence vote.
The day the motion will be discussed, a rally will be held at the Parliament Palace.
Asked if he excluded from the start the possibility that PNL may refuse being on a government with Gabriel Oprea as prime-minister, Vasile Blaga said: ‘We are an opposition party, we want to come to power. We can only achieve that with our own premier’.
The latest no-confidence vote of PNL against the Ponta Government was debated on 12 June. The motion was rejected by 194 votes in favour as opposed to 278 that would have been required for adoption. 13 votes were opposed and 7 were annulled.
Victor Ponta: “We should continue to rule, because it is a good ruling”
Prime-Minister Victor Ponta said on Monday in Parliament, after the meeting of the PSD Executive Committee, that it was PNL’s right to introduce a no-confidence vote and that the unanimous view on the Committee had been that the party should continue to rule because ‘it’s a good governance’ not even the opposition challenges from the point of view of economic results.
“I have talked with Mr. [National Union for Romania’s Progress head, Vice Prime Minister Gabriel] Oprea; today we are going to see each other in the coalition [meeting]; I have also talked with Mr. [Romanian Alliance of Liberals and Democrats leader, Senate Speaker Calin Popescu] Tariceanu. The important thing is that all the good things we did … the fall is coming, the winter is coming, we should have stability. (…) The unanimous opinion is we should continue to rule, because it is a good ruling. Not even the PNL [National Liberal Party, main Opposition force] says it is not. Everybody agrees that economically, socially we are doing our job,” Ponta said at the Parliament Palace.
‘We are moving on’, Victor Ponta also said in the end of the PSD Executive Committee meeting. He also said that ‘it is important for us to have stability’.
Before the meeting, Ponta said UNPR would support the Government in the eventuality that PNL might introduce a no-confidence vote.
‘Of course. We have already talked. Mr. Oprea has told you that, every time (…) ask him now and he will tell you’, said the PM.
Liviu Dragnea: ‘PSD supports Government’
The interim President of PSD, Liviu Dragnea, said that, during the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Social-Democrats on Monday, the decision had been made for the party not to endorse the no-confidence vote and to support the Ponta Government.
“We have talked in the National Executive Committee about the censure motion to be filed by the PNL [National Liberal Party]. The CExN has voted to reject this motion and further support the Government,” said Dragnea at the end of the party leaders’ meeting.
He added they haven’t considered to put conditions or not in order to support Victor Ponta. “The unwished for situation stays in the party, we cannot wipe out this unwanted situation by a vote in the CExN, yet the party is a political body, it has no interference with the judiciary, the judiciary follows its course and nobody with the PSD has any intention to disturb this course of the judiciary,” said Dragnea.
The interim President of PSD said, before the Monday meeting of the Social-Democrats, that they wanted to stay in power. The PSD leader noted that ‘calculations are being made for keeping the party to power’.
“Nobody in the party wants to quit governance. We’ll make calculations to stay in power. The PSD wants to stay at rule. We shall discuss in our sitting to keep governing. (…) The censure motion is a democratic right of the Opposition. The PSD cannot sack its own government. We cannot do that. We try to talk with the coalition leaders about that, too,” said Dragnea.
On the no-confidence vote announced by the Liberals, he said it is ‘a democratic and constitutional right of the opposition to initiate a no-confidence vote’ and added that he didn’t expect ‘PSD to vote to unseat its own government’.
Tariceanu refuses talks with Gorghiu and Blaga
Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu said on Monday that he would turn down an invitation to talks with PNL leaders Alina Gorghiu and Vasile Blaga on the no-confidence vote.
‘If Mrs. Gorghiu or Mr. Blaga invites me to talks on the subject, I will refuse such a discussion from the start. I see no point in such a talk. As the president of ALDE, I believe I am bound by an obligation of solidarity with the coalition partners and such a talk seems entirely unbecoming to me. How could I talk to the opposition? Should I betray?’ said Tariceanu at the Senate.
He added that, in his opinion, the current opposition seeks the power ‘at all cost’, using the legal situation of Prime-Minister Victor Ponta.
‘I believe this to be the political interest of PNL, actually a PNL after a makeover, to grab the power at al cost. This is the only rhetoric they have and they avail themselves of any opportunity to overturn the Government, (…) not by democratic means, but possibly by using different weapons and based on the pending court proceedings. Of course that a no-confidence vote is the weapon the democratic opposition uses in any country, it is their right to file a motion for a no-confidence vote, but I have the feeling they count on this unexpected support they are getting by from the fact that Mr. Ponta’s case has been referred to court’, Tariceanu also said.
Gabriel Oprea: UNPR supports Ponta Government
UNPR continues to support the Government and will not vote for the PNL motion, said Gabriel Oprea, the President of the party, on Monday, as he was leaving the meeting of the coalition at Parliament.
‘The UNPR position has not changed. We are a reliable party, we keep our word. This is why I believe we have gown in Romanians’ trust lately. We are standing by our position which is common-sense – we support the coalition and the government we belong to, that’s normal’, Mediafax quotes Oprea as having said. He rejected the option of UNPR supporting PNL’s no-confidence vote.
UDMR’s Kelemen: A majority of colleagues will say we have to vote for the motion of censure
The Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) will make a decision on the Opposition’s motion of censure before the vote, UDMR’s national leader Kelemen Hunor said Monday.
“I cannot give you an answer right now, because we have not discussed the matter inside the UDMR; we will do it and make a decision, but before the vote proper, not now. One thing is very clear: UDMR will not vote against the motion of censure and since it is in the Opposition, the vast majority of my colleagues will probably say we have to vote the motion. Unlike the previous time in the spring session, this time the National Liberal Party [PNL] reached out to us before announcing the motion and we had a discussion without knowing what the text is all about,” Kelemen said at the Parliament Palace.
He added that the UDMR is interested in what will happen if the incumbent government falls.
“We are first of all interested in what will happen if the government falls or if Prime Minister Victor Ponta takes a step back, because I believe there is even this possibility. What follows, the governing programme and the projects until the next year’s elections are things that are equally important as the motion of censure. Being in the Opposition, what we’ll do is a foregone conclusion, but there is no formal decision and there will be no decision. We will discuss with the PNL, PNL’s leadership in the days ahead; at least last Thursday when we had a first phone conversation that was what was agreed upon and we keep you updated,” said Kelemen.
He added that the fate of the Government is decided by the ruling coalition. “Any idea is realistic, including snap elections at the same time with the local elections, why not. All options are possible, the same as the option of continuing with the incumbent government, because it will not be us to decide the fate of the Government. The fate of the Government will be sealed by the coalition that supports the incumbent government, of which we are not part. We and the Liberals and anyone else in the Opposition can vote on any motion of censure because that is a constitutional instrument and it is good for motions of censure to exist,” Kelemen concluded.
Valeriu Zgonea, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, said Monday afternoon that the motion for the no-confidence vote would be read out on Wednesday and debated on the following Tuesday. This is what the joint Standing Bureaus of the Parliament decided.