The Ciolos Cabinet was voted on Tuesday in the reunited plenum. The Government led by Dacian Ciolos was granted 389 votes for, while 115 members of the Parliament voted against. In order to be appointed, the new Government needed the favourable votes of 274 members of the Parliament. Parliament meeting started with a moment of silence for the victims of Paris attacks.
Dacian Ciolos : “I will use all my energy to help regain Romania’s confidence and prestige in the relations with EU partners”
Prime Minister-designate Dacian Ciolos told a plenary sitting of Parliament on Tuesday said that his Cabinet will “unequivocally” preserve the current cornerstones of Romania’s foreign policy.
“There are instability hotbeds at our borders. The recent criminal attacks are one more proof of our vulnerability in the face of terrorism and hatred. These are all major challenges for any government. I want to assure you and our external partners that we will unequivocally maintain the existing cornerstones of our foreign policy: a firmly-anchored Romania in the European Union, the Strategic Partnership with the United States, the commitments made with NATO and the responsibilities entailed by membership to these alliances. Here I would like to warn regarding the 2016 budget, from which, alongside the objectives announced, we will have to provide a financial cover at the expected level and also for the country’s commitments at a European level,” Ciolos stated in a joint plenary session of Parliament, where the PM-designate is seeking a confidence vote on his Cabinet and Governing Programme.
Ciolos stated he wants Romania to participate more actively within the European Union in the major strategic decisions to be taken in the upcoming period.
“I will use all my energy to help regain Romania’s confidence and prestige in the relations with EU partners. We will start preparations for the presidency of the European Council, which Romania will take over in 2019,” the PM-designate added.
Prime Minister-designate Dacian Ciolos told a plenary sitting of Parliament on Tuesday that his technocrats’ executive cannot govern without the political parties democratically represented in the legislature.
“We do not wish to and we cannot replace the political class. Democracy is not possible without politicians or without political parties. The times when governments made up of experts are resorted to are exceptional. We can only govern by the side of the political forces democratically represented in Parliament. I hope you join our effort. We will be open to your projects, proposals and ideas and I assure you we will always listen to you attentively. My and my team’s wish is to create the prerequisites of a new project of the accelerated development of Romania equal to the huge potential of the country and we can only do this together, because you, the political parties will have to be those to continue building a country that should give hope to the Romanians”, Ciolos told the lawmakers gathered to take a vote of confidence in his cabinet.
The prime minister-designate voiced hope that his project for the development of Romania would make all those who have left the country wish to come back home.
“If we speak of home, it is only one place – here, in Romania. I have carried this ‘at home’ in my heart all these years in which I have been called to exercise my tasks outside the country and I am glad that today I can make my modest contribution, alongside my Government fellows to make this ‘at home’ better, but, as a word of wisdom by Marcus Aurelius says: ‘Please, God, give me the power to change what can be changed, the patience to accept what cannot be changed and the wisdom to distinguish between the two”, Ciolos said.
Prime Minister-designate Dacian Ciolos also said that tragedies such as the devastating Colectiv nightclub fire must never happen again and, therefore, the causes of the tragedy must be removed, corruption in particular.
“I am fully aware that expectations are huge and I assure you that I and my team will do our utmost to answer them in that our mandate allows us. This Government emerges in an exceptional social and political context. I find it difficult to begin this opening address without paying tribute to the victims and the families of the victims of the Colectiv club tragedy. Our thoughts stay by their side. Romania that we want to start up is their Romania. Tragedies such as the one at the Colectiv club must never happen again. It is a moral duty we all must assume, therefore we must together remove the causes of this tragedy, corruption in particular”, Ciolos told the Romanian lawmakers ahead of a vote on his Cabinet.
He added the current moment is critical, since the confidence in the political class, in the state authorities seems weakened and the people, now more than ever in the last 25 years, expect a change of the way that the public interest is managed.
“The president and you, the political parties have understood this critical moment and hence the mandate of this Government has emerged. The programme proposed by us must answer this reality. This Government’s task will be to create the required framework, a politically neutral one, that should lay the foundation of such structural transformation. We pledge a set of concrete measures that, while limited in number, have systemic impact and importance”, the prime minister-designate stressed.
PSD leader Dragnea on Ciolos Cabinet’s investiture: We won’t give a blank vote
The Chair of the Social Democrat Party (PSD), deputy Liviu Dragnea on Tuesday said in the plenary sitting of Parliament that the vote his party is to give for the investiture of the Dacian Ciolos’ Cabinet is not “a blank vote” and that his party might withdraw its support if the Government exceeds the mandate entrusted by Parliament.
“Our vote will not be a blank vote. We’ll support the Ciolos Government as long as we are certain that it activates within the mandate agreed upon, as long as it continues the economic measures endorsed by our governing, as long as it stays aside from the political maneuvering that might lead to a destabilization of the system and of the administrative activity, as long as we are certain that this Government will properly and unbiasedly prepare the 2016 elections. Should we have the slightest doubt that these conditions are not observed, then our support for this government will cease and we shall not hesitate for one moment to use all the parliamentary tools to amend and, hopefully it won’t be necessary, to sack the Government, if it goes beyond the mandate the Parliament has entrusted it with,” said Dragnea.
The PSD leader said that Victor Ponta was “the best Prime Minister Romania has had since the 1989 Revolution,” guaranteeing through the assumed measures sustainable economic growth and a better living standard for the Romanians, so the mission of the future Executive is to continue these achievements.
“We are used that whenever a new Government takes over, the ones who come make accusations regarding the heavy legacy left by the previous government. Mr. Prime Minister-designate, your legacy is a functional economy, with much more money in the country’s treasury, with lower taxes and higher incomes in peoples’ pockets. Your mission is to take these achievements further,” highlighted Dragnea.
He added that the current situation is “pretty unusual,” as the MPs are called to give a vote of investiture for or against the Ciolos Cabinet which no parliamentary party is part of.
“We find ourselves today in a less usual situation – we are called to vote for the investiture of a government that includes no parliamentary party’s member. This government is not assumed politically by any parliamentary majority resulted after a democratic vote. President Iohannis mandated Mr. Ciolos to set up an apolitical Cabinet. (…) Romania has to return as soon as possible to a government legitimized by the vote of citizens,” concluded the PSD leader.
PNL’s Gorghiu: “We are electing today a solution demanded by the citizens”
Co-chair of the National Liberal Party (PNL) Alina Gorghiu says the PNL will vote for the Ciolos Cabinet as they trust it to be a solution for getting out of the crisis.
“We are electing today a solution demanded by the citizens. The PNL believes in this solution, with all the syncope in the creation of the team. Serious reform of the political parties is needed so that they may get loaded with the will and power for change, for refreshing. The PNL will join other parliamentary groups in voting on the new government, because we trust it to be a good formula and solution to get us out of the crisis. (…) Mr Prime Minister, you will have in PNL a loyal partner for all the good measures you will make, but also a critical and sincere voice when we believe truth less flattering to your Cabinet has to be told. I am convinced that some of the abuses of the Ponta Cabinet will be fixed or at least halted,” Gorghiu told a plenary session of Parliament for a vote on the Ciolos Cabinet.
She pointed out that it is for the third time in the last 25 years when Parliament is suggested a technocrat government.
Gorghiu believes that although people are no longer in the streets, dissatisfaction is still there and the big win of the current circumstances is the fact that the Social Democrat Party (PSD) is no longer in power.
She added that “starting today, a new, transparent framework is being sketched up with a balanced distribution of resources to the local public administrations” voicing hope that “this government will understand to do just that.”
“The PNL did not come up with a political government, as it did not ask for any ministerial office in the Ciolos Cabinet or for some political advantage. When you are a party born in 1875, like the PNL, a party that has seen much, you can have this option credibly,” said Gorghiu.
PNL Co-president Vasile Blaga: ‘It will be a technocrat government called to start implementing important reforms’
‘It is not a raincoat – government. It is also not a government politicians can use for an excuse or scapegoat. On the other hand, the Executive headed by Ciolos is not going o replace – and it cannot do it in a democracy – political parties or the Parliament. However, it does have the duty to work with them. And I am happy that the premier-designate has already shown openness during the consultations for setting up this new government. So it will be the first technocrat government called not just to close the political crisis generated by the former Ponta Government, but to also start implementing important reforms that have been missed, compromised or ignored by the previous Executive’, Blaga said.
UDMR’s Kelemen: CVs of some ministers, individually more substantial than the entire gov’t programme
The CVs of some of the future ministers are individually more substantial than the entire government programme, says national leader of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) Kelemen Hunor.
“UDMR will vote for the inauguration of the Ciolos Cabinet, as promised. Each of us has enough reasons to support personal decisions. Our mission is simple and, if we make a short analysis of the government programme we see it is a very short, but clear programme, with some principles that anyone can agree on, some priorities for an election year that seem unachievable. Of course, we are lucky with the CVs of some ministers that individually are more substantial than the government programme,” Kelemen told a plenary session of Parliament on Tuesday.
He added that he does not know the procedures for the completion of the government programme, which Prime Minister-delegate Dacian Ciolos said will be expanded by December 15.
“The difficult part of our mission starts after today’s vote and it has to do with ourselves. The Romanian society finds itself in a novel situation. After managing in 25 years to build strong democratic organisations and a working parliamentary system certainly still perfectible, now, at a dazzling speed and with the almost unanimous agreement of the political class we are placing fundamental organisations on hold (…). If someone looks at us from afar with some objectivity he or she would see a huge motor vehicle out of fuel moving around by dint of inertia, as one friend puts it, today, we are behaving as if Parliament and a multiparty system have become a constitutional obstacle to perfect governing. Our difficult mission is that we have to modestly yet convincingly explain that without Parliament, without parties and political formations there is no exercising democracy,” added Kelemen Hunor.
Calin Popescu Tariceanu: ‘Almost nothing has changed’
The Speaker of the Senate, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, warned Ciolos that ‘he was a part of a dangerous plan’ and spoke of the ‘DNA – SRI binomial’ from the Parliament rostrum.
‘This plan that seeks to annihilate the rule of law engages institutions of the state. The ultimate purpose is a change of paradigm. Meaning the change of the democratic political regime. This plan is being implemented under the compliant eyes of the president of Romania, to say the least. This plan comes includes the subduing of justice and installation of
He added that ‘PSD was still in power, and PNL showed an intention to criticise the Government, therefore in the opposition. Almost nothing has changed’. Tariceanu said ALDE would not vote for the Ciolos Government. ‘A minority (the street – editor’s note) cannot impose its agenda. I have not heard the word
Varujan Pambuccian: ‘If I had spoken last night, I would have said I wasn’t gong to give my vote to his Government’
The leader of the parliamentary group of the national minorities, Varujan Pambuccian, said from the Parliament rostrum that if the proposed minister for Justice had not been reconsidered, he wouldn’t have given his vote to the Government.
‘If I had spoken yesterday, I would have said we would be giving the Government a blanc cheque. If I had spoken last night, I would have said we would not vote for the Government. I speak today and say that we will vote for it, because, where we proved irresponsibility, this person (Dacian Ciolos) proved responsibility. Last night I heard Ana Pauker stammer something against democracy, tripping, and you have her your votes in the Legal Committees, without realising that the Parliament was the last stronghold a nation has against dictatorship’, said Pambuccian.
Two proposed ministers replaced in the last minute
After almost all the minister proposed by Dacian Ciolos had received favourable opinions for the relevant committees of Parliament on Monday – except for Vasile Dancu who felt unwell and could not attend the hearing – the premier-designate decided to withdraw Cristina Guseth from his government team. It was the second proposed minister withdrawn by the PM-designate. On Sunday, within\ hours of the presentation of his list of proposals, Ciolos withdrew Andrei Baciu and replaced him with Patriciu Achimas-Cadariu for the Health portfolio.
‘In order not to undermine in any way the trust in the minister of justice during a very important year for keeping the credibility of the activity of the justice system, I have decided to withdraw the proposal of Mrs. Cristian Guseth for the portfolio. Tomorrow morning I will make a new proposal to the leadership of the Parliament’, Ciolos stated on Facebook.
Raluca Pruna: ‘CVM not an aim per se’
Instead of Cristina Guseth, Dacian Ciolos has proposed for justice minister Raluca Pruna, senior civil servant working for the European Commission. She flew from Brussels to be interviewed by the Legal Affairs Committees and received a favourable opinion.
She said from the beginning that she understood the seriousness of the moment and position and that she was a Law and Philosophy graduate. At that point, Bogdan Ciuca, one of the attending MPs, said everybody was relieved. That happened after the original proposal, Cristina Guseth, was a Polytechnic school graduate, which caused the dissatisfaction of the MPs members of the Legal Committees.
During the interview, Raluca Pruna made a short presentation of her CV, stressing she was a founding member of Transparency International in Romania and that she had been a member of the team who translated the treaty for the accession of Romania to the European Union.
She also said she would base her work on a broad debate on the issues emerging in the implementation of the new Codes. ‘I am not saying anything new. As a Romanian lawyer, I expect new Codes to last for a certain period. I know the judicial system is impaired by the lack of predictability. I know there are many decisions on the unconstitutionality of some Codes. This procedure can only happen after a debate. The answer is yes. I will work with the Parliament. It goes without saying’.
Raluca Pruna noted that she and the PM-designate, DACIAN Ciolos, had talked about Justice priorities.
‘If I receive the vote of confidence, my term will be short, just a year, therefore I don’t know if the laws can be adopted by the end of next year. Of course I have discussed the Justice priorities with the premier-designate’\’, Pruna said.
During the hearings, PSD Senator Serban Nicolae said that the CVM reports had criticised the Parliament on a number of occasions and asked Pruna if it was natural for ‘the Government of Romania, through the Ministry of Justice, to encourage such an approach’. ‘From my point of view, CVM is a shame and a form of inconsideration’, the senator pointed out.
‘CVM is not an aim per se. I, as a candidate, can only ascertain the existence of this mechanism and the role of anyone who will take over this position (minister of justice) is to take into account these recommendations made in the CVM. Formally speaking, of course it is a mechanism only Romania and Bulgaria have. I would just say that, if we take many other technical reports written by EC experts, we will see that institutions are also criticised there’, said Raluca Pruna.
She was also asked about the covert officers in the justice system. ‘The magistrate signs an affidavit, you know very well that CSM takes care of that, the affidavit is sent to CSM and CSM consults CSAT. If CSAT finds a covert agent, that’s misrepresentation’.
Vasile Dancu: ‘I will try to be a link and a channel of communication’
Vasile Dancu, proposed to the Ministry of Development, was heard by the Administration Committee of the Parliament and received a positive opinion Tuesday morning.
During the meeting, he said he would try, given the fact that he used to be a member of Parliament, to structure a very good relation in the case of all ministries.
‘As the administration contains 90% of the government plans, I will try to be a link and a channel of communication with the ministries, at least in the relevant social areas’, he added.
Among his objectives, Vasile Dancu listed ‘closing the projects that end this year’, funding financing resources either locally or in the framework of European programmes. Dancu also mentioned the need to find resources to pay for the consolidation of buildings at seismic risk in Bucharest and ‘continuing the financing of investment for young people, for evicted tenants, social housing’, or ‘the financing of sites of sportive interest’.
After the hearings, Vasile Dancu reminded that the Ciolos Government was being installed after a crisis generated by the resignation of the former Executive, the time being very short.
‘A party ahs 4 years (…) We were given very little time. Dacian Ciolos wants to take over a few important priorities that we have assumed, and we have 2-3 months for each minister to add things with his/her experience (…) It’s a matter pertaining to the current crisis and things need to be done quickly’, Vasile Dancu added after the interview, referring to the daily changes in the ruling programme.
The future deputy premier assured that the issues regarding the installation of the Ciolos Government did not come from the lack of competence of the PM-designate.
‘A PM-designate who is a technician without political parties behind him only has his own expertise to count on. He consults with various people, there are elements that could mean voids of documentation, he does not have a specialist to tell him down to the last detail the biography of people, he cannot anticipate a person’s performance in committees (…). I can assure you these are faults that are only explained by the circumstances, they are not faults of expertise’, he stressed.
In the context, Vasile Dancu took distance from PSD, a party he used to be a member of and which he represented as a Senator, MEP AND Deputy Prime-Minister in the Adrian Nastase Cabinet.
‘I wish they could say I was proposed by PSD (…). I was not proposed by PSD (…). I am happy to also have PSD’s support and the support of the other parties, I will deserve that’, said Vasile Dancu.
Asked by the journalists about the probability that the Ciolos Government may relaunch the projects of regionalisation and Constitution revision, the sociologist who is also a professor stressed that the new Government would have too little time available, just a year.
MP and ALDE opposed
Ex-President Traian Basescu, the leader of the People’s Movement, announced before the vote in Parliament that his MPs would vote against the Cabinet because of the announced political programme and nomination errors.
Basescu said he had read ‘from the first to the last page’ the ruling programme published by the PM-designate and that, in his opinion, it was the ‘most arid’ ruling programme he had ever seen. The MP leader criticised the nomination of Lazar Comanescu, whom he called ‘ultra-dusty’, as well as the hesitations with the proposals and withdrawals of ministers of health and justice.
ALDE MPs did not vote for the Ciolos Cabinet either. The decision to vote against the proposed Cabinet had been made in unanimity by the party, according to Calin Popescu Tariceanu. He also said that, with this new Government, ‘a new regime was going to be installed in Romania – undemocratic, unconstitutional, based on a formula made in such a way that it excludes institutional and constitutional actors – the political parties – from government decision-making’.
Ruling programme changes again
The change of designated ministers was not the only modification of plan for PM \-designate Dacian Ciolos. His 13-page ruling programme received 7 pages more Tuesday morning, which were sent to Parliament. But the addition was not considered, as the hearing of ministers on Monday had been organised base don the original ruling programme. One of the changes was the renouncing of the proposal for the merger of elections, according to Realitatea TV.
‘In the next period, we will bring more concrete projects for each sector also according to the support we will find. Yes, it (the merger of electrons) will be removed. So the ruling programme will be adjusted to the debates’, the PM-designate explained in Parliament on Monday.
He pointed out that he had drafted a ruling programme in just four days, without having any ministers to consult with.
Asked if in the future he expected to have contradictory discussions with the party representatives on the projects the Government proposed, Ciolos said: ‘Contradictory discussions always happen at the beginning until the positions are harmonised’.
‘The projects the Government will support will not be projects in the sense of biased politics, they will be political projects in the sense of a broad interest. Therefore, the better the dialogue, the better we, the Government, will orient ourselves regarding certain legislative projects in order to be sure we have the support of a majority’, said the premier-designate.
President Iohannis: Congratulations to the new Gov’t; it will have a difficult task
President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday congratulated the new Government and showed that the Executive will have “a difficult task,” as achieving the assumed objectives is not possible “without substantial parliamentary support.”
“Congratulations to the new Government, which received Parliament’s vote of confidence this afternoon! It is proof that the parties have understood that a technocrat government is now the best solution for Romania. The Ciolos Cabinet will have a difficult task and achieving the assumed objectives in the government programme will not be possible without substantial parliamentary support. I am confident that each member of the governmental team will treat responsibly and professionally the mission entrusted. [I wish them] good luck!” the head of state wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.