President Klaus Iohannis on Monday sent a letter to the national leaders of the political parties and formations represented in Romania’s Parliament inviting them to a new round of consultations at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace, aimed at designating a candidate to the prime minister office, the Presidential Administration informs.
On Monday, the head of state will hold consultations with Social Democratic Party (PSD) leaders, at 18:00hrs, and National Liberal Party (PNL) leaders, at 19:00hrs.
On Tuesday, President Iohannis convened for consultations leaders of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR), at 11:00hrs, the National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR), at 11:30hrs, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), at 12:00hrs, and those of the parliamentary group of national minorities, at 12:30hrs.
The head of state last week had a first round of consultations with the parliamentary parties and formations for the designation of a new prime minister.
Iohannis ended the first round of consultations and decided to visit protesters in University Square. Future Prime Minister following Ponta’s resignation to be announced this week
There are two days until now of discussions concerning the appointment of the new Prime Minister, but no decision yet. Parties avoided nominating a Prime Minister in the first round of negotiations with President Klaus Iohannis. This is how a troubled week on political and social scene ended, after the succession of events generated by the tragedy in Club Colectiv, on October 30, where the dramatic balance of victims is continuously growing.
After discussions with PSD, PNL, UDMR and the group of national minorities, held on Thursday, on Friday, Klaus Iohannis sat at the table with representatives of ALDE, UNPR and the civil society. The conclusion? The President demanded a pause and declared he would initiate a new round of negotiations, but also, that he would come out on the street. Discussions destined to appoint the new Prime Minister continue this week as well, in a terribly tension-filled social atmosphere caused by the sudden rise in the number of deaths in the aftermath of the fire in Club Colectiv.
Under the pressure of the street, the most likely solution seems to be a Government of technocrats, political analysts think. They could govern the country until next year’s elections or to organize anticipated elections, if such approach would be supported.
After the first round of negotiations, most parties in the Parliament, as well as civil society agreed that anticipated elections could be a great solution to clean up the political class. This was actually the main demand of the dozens of thousands of Romanians attending protests on the streets since last Tuesday.
Another idea discussed was establishing a Government of technocrats that would lead the country at least until next year’s parliamentary elections.
A certain fact is that the option of a new political Government seems a scenario ruled out after the first round of discussions at Palace Cotroceni, as all political parties were reserved in making concrete proposals, granting total initiative to President Klaus Iohannis.
Political analysts think that the parties feared, first of all, the reactions of people in the streets, critical in their messages towards the entire political class.
They also think that a Government of specialists of no political orientation might be the best solution to grant transition until new elections, but also for political and social stability.
The scenario of anticipated elections, hard to apply
The scenario of anticipated elections, although acceptable by the parties, seems hard to apply because of complicated procedures.
The Constitution makes the anticipated elections almost impossible to organize. In order to do so, the Parliament should refuse two proposals by the President for the position of Prime Minister and this is the sole case that could lead to the dissolution of the Legislative.
How anticipated elections can be started, based on the Constitution? Here is Article no. 89, on the dissolution of the Parliament:
“After discussing with the Presidents of the two Chambers and with the leaders of Parliament groups, the Romanian President may dissolve the Parliament if it failed to grant the vote of confidence for establishing the Government in 60 days’ time since the first request and only after refusing at least two solicitations of appointment”.
Protesters who exited on the streets before the President demanded a new talk on selecting the new Prime Minister created a list of demands they had from the new leadership. They demand a new, clean system, with no corrupt politicians and simplified bureaucratic frame.
What does “The Street” want?
The new Prime Minister should not be a member of PSD, PNL, UNPR or any other political party.
The population should have the tools to dismiss a politician easily.
The decrease to 300 in the number of Deputies and Senators in the Romanian Parliament.
Forbidding political shifts and political alliances after elections.
Cease of immunity in all cases requested by politicians, seizing illicit wealth and harsher punishment in corruption-related cases.
Any convicted politician should be unable to gain a position in the state after executing his sentence.
The increase of the budget for health, education, security and other fields of national interest subordinated to the state and the increase in the wages of doctors, teachers, police officers, gendarmes, firefighters, simultaneously with a decrease in the wages of persons managing these institutions.
Increase of punishment on people who give or accept bribe in any field.
The increase of the minimum salary and decent pensions for all Romanians.
The revision and decrease of bureaucracy, simplification and clarification of the legislation frame for operating trade companies.
Protection of forests and increased penalties for illegal exploitations.
President Iohannis: I will convene new talks early next week
President Klaus Iohannis said on Friday at the end of the first round of talks that we would l convene a new round of consultations early next week, adding that he might come up with a conclusion to unveil publicly late next week.
“Irrespective of the final option – snap elections or a technocrat government – it is obvious that all the political parties have to agree on a minimal programme. What has to be done in the period immediately ahead? The budget, hospitals, schools and so on. These things will have to be agreed upon by the political parties. I am optimistic and I will convene a new round of consultations for early next week and there might be a conclusion already late next week that I will come up with before the public,” Iohannis told journalists at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
He said his consultations with political parties have indicated that almost all the parties are ready to consider snap elections and a technocrat government, but almost nobody is ready to consider a political government.
“This is news. That is why no party came up with prime ministerial recommendations. No matter how easy they sound, these conclusions are very important and have to be still discussed and negotiated,” added Iohannis.
He said that just one round of talks is not enough because this is a special situation.
“Everybody understood that this is more than a change of government, that the electorate, the agora and the street are expecting changes in political approaches, more cleanliness, more seriousness, more solutions and more political transparency. It pleased me that these were well understood. I have noticed that nobody came up with prime ministerial proposals. That was news in Romanian politics. Nobody came up with rigid ideas; all displayed much openness, openness to solutions that are awaited and desired,” said Iohannis.
“I promised I would go among protesters, but I will not announce day or hour”
President Klaus Iohannis on Friday said he promised civil society and “street” leaders that he would go to the agora among protesters, but pointed out he would announce neither hour, nor day, in order not to make a media event out of this.
“I have received multiple invitations to go to the agora and I promised I will, but I will announce neither the hour, nor the day I will go there, because I don’t want to make a media event out of it, but I want to go talk to the common people who are in the [University] Square, to tell me what they expect of me, what they expect of the political class,” Iohannis said.
He pointed out that he found the discussion on Friday at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace with civil society and street representatives “very good” and that these came up with idea he will take over and forward to “the political parties.”
“[The discussion] was very good, people who came with very good ideas, well-thought concepts, approaches that are very useful to me at this stage. I shall take over a great part of these ideas and I shall forward them to the political parties. It was obvious in the discussion with the civil society and the street leaders that there are multiple expectations and they are most certainly justified, but at this stage (…) I find once more that a mere government change isn’t enough. A complex change in the Romanian politics is necessary. Everyone, but absolutely everyone is expecting new politicians to come forth, who had nothing to do with corruption, who haven’t been criminally investigated, who haven’t conducted suspicious businesses,” the head of state added.
The President underscored that these things have been “well understood” by the political leaders whom he met these days.
The information about the President going to the University Square had been previously announced by the civil society leaders who participated on Friday in a meeting with the head of state at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
“Many people sent messages that it would be good if he came to the [University] Square. He will come to the Square, but neither you nor us will know when,” Expert Forum representative Sorin Ionita said.
Liviu Mihaiu, representative of Save the Danube and the Danube Delta Organisation, part of the Environment Coalition of Romania, in turn said that Iohannis will go to the University Square to talk with the people, but “no one knows when, where and how, for obvious reasons.”
He underscored that attending the meeting with the head of state were leaders of 20 NGOs that covered of all society areas, and the conversation was an “exceptional” one.