USR MPs wore armbands symbolising the “deep state”* Human chain around Parliament’s Palace during the debate
The no-confidence motion initiated by the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Save Romania Union (USR) against the Tudose Cabinet, was rejected in the joint plenary sitting of Parliament on Thrusday, with 159 votes in favour, 3 against and 23 abstentions. To be adopted, the motion needed minimum 233 votes in favour.
The voting was secret.
Parliament Speakers absent from debate
The debate on the no-confidence motion tabled by the National Liberal Party (PNL) – “PSDragnea, a boon in the campaign, a bane at rule” – started on Thursday, within Parliament’s plenum, in the absence of Liviu Dragnea and Calin Popescu Tariceanu, the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament, the meeting being chaired by Gabriel Vlase and Nicolae Badalau. PSD MPs walked out before the motion was read. USR MPs wore white armbands with two black stripes, which they said symbolises the “deep state,” the leader of USR stating that they are the representatives of the real state, the state that is parallel to corrupt politicians. Prime Minister Mihai Tudose ironized the Liberals during the debates, noting that the no-confidence motion was read by “a newer colleague,” which, in the Head of Government’s opinion, means that the Liberals do not take responsibility for the overture. Tudose went on to give point-by-point answers to the accusations levelled by the motion.
PM Tudose: This was the first year since long when school textbooks were delivered on time, at the start of school
Prime Minister Mihai Tudose criticised the initiators of the no-confidence motion for talking about chaos in the education system, claiming that 2017 was the first year in a long time when school textbooks were delivered on time, when school started.
“You talked about chaos in the Education. I remind you that this is the first year since long when school textbooks were on time, at the start of school. They no longer learnt from notes, like they did back in your day. Secondly, we finalised the construction of 46 kindergartens, 24 schools. That fifth-grade textbook… we give it to you personally. If that’s your level, it’s all right,” Mihai Tudose stated.
He added that “significant progress” was made in what concerns dual education, the Government managing to complete more than 100 classes.
“Also in your motion, I read something very grave, namely that Education is allegedly in decline and pupils have no textbooks. There were no textbooks in your world. The difference this year compared to last year: last year 700 million lei was spent on textbooks and on those auxiliary items. This year all textbooks were covered with 40 million lei. Maybe you will also ask some questions about who spent that money and where,” the Head of Government added.
“We’ll adopt emergency ordinance for salaries in IT field not to drop”
On Thursday, Prime Minister Mihai Tudose also announced, during the parliamentary debates on the no-confidence motion, that the Government will issue an emergency ordinance so that the salaries of IT sector employees would not drop.
“The only problem that is still real, about to be resolved next week, is the one concerning IT employees, which benefit from tax waiver. For this category we will issue an ordinance that would balance things out, so that the income of no IT sector employee would drop,” Mihai Tudose stated.
He claimed that the IT sector will continue to be “a strategic priority.” “We want to contribute to its development. We will do the same for the incomes of persons with disabilities,” the Head of Government added.
“First of all, I appreciate the PNL colleagues’ gesture to allow a newer colleague to read the text, basically not taking responsibility for its contents. A no-confidence motion represents a constitutional right and an exercise as democratic as it can be. Unfortunately, you have turned this legitimate right into an opportunity to be populists, demagogues, of putting on a show based on a screenplay that is completely detached from reality,” Premier Mihai Tudose stated at the start of his speech.
USR Senator Nicoleta Dinu read the no-confidence motion at the joint meeting of the Lower House and the Senate.
PSD MPs returned to the room during the Prime Minister’s speech, but walked out again once the Head of Government left the rostrum.
Tudose to PNL: I believe you’ll remain outside the Gov’t for a long time
Premier Mihai Tudose told the Liberal MPs, after the reading of the no-confidence motion, that “unfortunately for you and fortunately for Romania I believe you will remain outside the Government for a long time.”
“I’ll answer some parliamentarians who, on their behalf or also on behalf of their group, really proved to be the bearers of constructive messages, albeit the obvious criticism – Mr Kelemen and Mr Basescu. Mr President Basescu, many of the things you have said are in process of being resolved, some are already resolved – blocking new employments etc. Which makes me believe there is also a serious Opposition. In another train of thought, Mr President, you’ve started to grow old. When you were younger you were never handing the eggs back,” Mihai Tudose stated after the debate on the no-confidence motion.
However, he criticised the Liberals.
“In what concerns the overture made by the other part of the Opposition, of the ghosts, to come and state at Parliament’s rostrum – something that I believe is unexplainable even from a clinical standpoint – that the deficit is twice last year’s level, we also have slides, I find that irresponsible. Nevertheless, what remains defining for the area you represent is the gesture of our colleague from a poor family who, instead of buying the 1-leu bread that everyone knows, bought a 6-leu bread because alas, it was a poor Liberal family, [this] has left him without food too. Unfortunately for you and fortunately for Romania, I believe you will remain outside the Government for a long time,” the Premier added.
PNL’s Dumitrescu: Mr Tudose, you deserve the nickname of Aloof Premier; Did you receive the OUG in an envelope?
PNL’s Senate whip Iulian Dumitrescu stated on Wednesday, at the debate on the no-confidence motion, that Mihai Tudose deserves “the nickname of Aloof Premier,” stating that the “bogeyman” called “the deep state” was invented in order to justify “the Government’s failures.”
“In order to justify your failures and impotence you’ve invented a bogeyman – namely the deep state, redundantly called illegitimate too –, stating that it does not allow the Government to mind its business. (…) This no-confidence motion is our motion, the motion of the Opposition parties, against the deep and illegitimate Government led by Mr Mihai Tudose and Mr Liviu Dragnea. And when I say deep Government I refer to the fact that Premier Mihai Tudose’s Government is aloof from the interests, needs and expectations of Romanians, and when I say illegitimate Government I refer to the fact that the Government of Mr Liviu Dragnea – the actual Premier – has declared war on Romanians and on the Romanian economy, in a whirlwind of lies and populism never before seen in Romania,” Iulian Dumitrescu stated within the plenum of Parliament.
Iulian Dumitrescu asked Premier Mihai Tudose whether the emergency ordinance amending the Fiscal Code was drafted by the members of Government or whether they received it in an envelope from “the so-called representatives of the deep and illegitimate state.”
“If you received it in an envelope it means you are a puppet Premier that should be toppled not just by the Opposition but also by the PSD-ALDE members of the House and Senate. If you didn’t receive it in an envelope it means you have nothing to do with the interests, needs and problems of Romanians, and all those who were elected by Romanians, regardless of their political stripes, should vote in favour of your dismissal,” Dumitrescu said.
The Liberal stated that Mihai Tudose would deserve the nickname of “Aloof Premier.”
“In conclusion, Prime Minister Mihai Tudose, I want to tell you that if you don’t take responsibilities and do things, and throw the blame on made-up things instead, I’m loudly telling you here, before the members of the Romanian Parliament, that you would deserve the nickname of Aloof Premier and you must let someone else in your place, someone who knows and can handle the affairs of the country,” the Liberal said.
Basescu nominates future Premier: I have the conviction the motion will pass. I nominate Siegfried Muresan
Ex-President Traian Basescu stated on Thursday, at the joint plenary meeting in which the no-confidence motion was debated, that he is convinced the motion will pass, and consequently nominated Siegfried Muresan as the future Premier.
“Because I’m convinced the motion will pass and because nobody mentioned the Premier, I nominate Siegfried Muresan as the future Premier,” Traian Basescu stated at the rostrum.
Siegfried Muresan is Deputy Chairman of the European Parliament’s Budget Committee. This is not the first time the ex-President nominates him as his first option for the Premier’s office.
In 2016, Traian Basescu announced that the Popular Movement Party decided to endorse Siegfried Muresan for the Premier’s office.
USR: Romania doesn’t deserve having its third-highest office held by someone criminally convicted for stealing votes
USR President Dan Barna stated on Thursday, at the debate on the no-confidence motion against the Tudose Government, that Romania does not deserve having its third-highest state office held by a person who was convicted for stealing votes, once again asking Liviu Dragnea to resign from the office of Lower House Speaker.
“USR will vote in favour of the no-confidence motion for the dismissal of the Tudose Government and we once again demand Liviu Dragnea’s resignation from the office of Lower House Speaker. Romania does not deserve having its third-highest state office held by a person who was criminally convicted for stealing votes and who is investigated in a new dossier – for fraud and the setting up of a crime syndicate –, a person who proposes a state with a decorative judiciary, parallel with the rule of law, indeed,” Barna claimed.
Likewise, the USR President pointed out that the ruling parties – PSD and ALDE – find themselves in “a blind alley” and PSD President Liviu Dragnea is responsible for that.
“The man who has brought you to this blind alley is none other than Liviu Dragnea. The man who has confiscated all power, including that of the Government, turned into a puppet, including your power as parliamentarians. He has confiscated all power in order to drag you into solving an objective entirely different from the governance platform. A small, petty, and human objective. Some personal and group problems of a criminal nature. And to attain this objective, Romania, the judiciary and the rule of law are being sacrificed these days, cynically and knowingly, as collateral damage in attaining this objective,” Barna pointed out.
At the same time, the USR President added that, according to the party’s data, the Tudose Government fulfilled fewer governance platform measures than the Grindeanu Government did.
“In this debate, the USR has updated the report on the status of implementing the governance platform. Almost 5 months since it was sworn in, the Tudose Government has managed to fulfil only 11 of the 343 measures that the Government hadn’t fulfilled or had fulfilled only partially. While the Grindeanu Government had managed to fulfil 50 measures in five months in power, the Tudose Government has managed to fulfil 11. Up to now, when we are debating this motion, the Tudose Government has fulfilled only 3 percent of the governance platform. The bitter truth is that Mihai Tudose and his Cabinet have shown he is a Premier even weaker than Sorin Grindeanu,” Dan Barna emphasised.
Turcan: PSD remains obviously the biggest enemy of democracy
PSD remains obviously the biggest enemy of democracy, PNL’s Lower House whip Raluca Turcan said on Thursday.
“So predictable for the PSD. I wonder where are you going? To support your leader on the steps of the DNA? PSD remains obviously the biggest enemy of democracy and as intolerant of freedom of expression as it was in the 1990s. It is clear for the whole country that the leaders of the current ruling coalition are running in a direction opposed to Romania. The actions of this Government are increasingly directed against the national interest. It governs against the citizens and the defiance and arrogance you have come to prove have reached levels hard to imagine. Absent Mr Dragnea and Mr Tariceanu, Mr Tudose, dear colleagues, there have been arrogant people with criminal files, but none of them dared, as you did, to change laws and rules to get rid of justice or potential sentences,” Turcan said at the debate of the censure motion.
She added that Dragnea, Tariceanu and Tudose want to turn back time “to practices and ways of operating from before joining the European Union,” but the country will not tolerate such a thing.
“You live with the illusion that you can fill all public positions with illiterate and uneducated people, that you can change laws to get rid of your own files, that you can offer state property at ridiculous prices, but your calculations are wrong and you will be held accountable for what you are doing (…)
No enemy of Romania would have been able to act more efficiently against the country’s interest than you are doing. Political crime is when you hear convicts at the level of the parliamentary committees. Why don’t you move parliamentary committees directly to Jilava [Prison] if you are more concerned with convicts than with the people, if you are more concerned with fictitious hearings than with making laws for the people? No leader of the majority, no minister, no MEP took a stand when, in a Securitate-like way, non-governmental organizations were attacked, when laws to turn their life into a nightmare were initiated,” she said.
Thousands of people protest outside Palace of Parliament at PNL’s call
Liberals from Bucharest and several counties gathered in Izvor Park on Thursday, to protest against the incumbent Government while the no-confidence motion tabled by PNL was being debated in Parliament. PNL President Ludovic Orban reiterated before the more than 2,000 PNL sympathisers who gathered outside the Palace of Parliament the failed promises of PSD, stating that “people without character, honesty, honour, respect and fear of God, the Cosa Nostra, a mafia group that wants to take over the state in order to subjugate the citizen, have ended up in power.” The protest ended after approximately two hours, after the protesters formed a human chain around the Palace of Parliament. According to law enforcement authorities, there were approximately 3,000 protesters, while PNL organisers claim their number surpassed 5,000 by far.
The protesters carried placards reading “PSDDragnea recipe: generosity that impoverishes you,” “Day and night, like thieves” and “Dragnea and his people have cut the Leu’s power.”
Other messages read: “We pay higher instalments for PSDragnea to have money,” “I endorse PNL’s motion for a normal Romania,” “Dragnea resign,” “PSD the red plague.”
The protesters whistled, used vuvuzelas, drums, and chanted slogans against the Government, shouting “down with the Government,” “thieves” and “resignation.”
Orban to protesters: People without character, honesty, honour, respect, and fear of God have ended up in power
PNL President Ludovic Orban reminded the more than 2,000 party sympathisers who gathered outside the Palace of Parliament about PSD’s failed promises, stating that “people without character, honesty, honour, respect and fear of God, the Cosa Nostra, a mafia group that wants to take over the state in order to subjugate the citizen, have ended up in power.”
“Good people who have travelled all the way to Bucharest, from Prahova, Oradea, Dolj, Olt, Mehedinti… I bid you welcome. Why are you here today?” Orban started his speech before the more than 1,000 PNL sympathisers who gathered outside the Palace of Parliament and who started chanting “down with the Government!”
He said that, less than a year ago, “Dragnea was acting like Santa Claus, promising everything to everyone.”
“PSD promises to give, but only knows how to take. It was promising the hiking of salaries on 1 January 2018. What will they get? They’ll get the transfer of contributions, and instead of the salary rising by 25 percent, it will rise by 4 percent. This is PSD, it promises to give but only knows how to take,” the Liberal leader added.
“In less than a year of governance, even though the red plague took over a turnkey Romania, functional, with a good image built by President Iohannis, all of Romania’s hopes, chances, have been ruined by these bastards who are destroying the country,” he said, adding: “We have in power a Cosa Nostra, a mafia group that is taking over the Romanian state in order to subjugate the Romanian citizen, to attack the citizens’ chance to a better life.”
“It bothers them that we are in the EU, that there are European institutions that can rein them in. The moment when those who are in power now would try to take us out from the EU or to throw us at Europe’s periphery is not far. (…) People without character, honesty, honour, respect, and fear of God have ended up in power. But they can’t do what they want! In this country, if a Government attacks democracy, every citizen does not have the right to topple the ruling power, he/she has the obligation to topple it. They are not Romania, we, those who are working, are Romania,” Ludovic Orban added.
He encouraged the protesters to form a human chain around Parliament, which would in fact be a symbolic shield.
PNL leader after the no-confidence motion was rejected: Even if the motion wasn’t approved, PNL will continue the fight against the PSDragnea Government
PNL will continue the fight against the Government in order to rescue Romania “from the claws of an octopus that tries to confiscate the Romanian state”, even if the censure motion was rejected, stated on Thursday the Liberal Chairman Ludovic Orban.
“Even if the motion wasn’t approved, PNL will continue the fight against the PSDragnea Government in order to rescue Romania from the claws of an octopus that tries to confiscate the Romanian state. Today, we have been with the people who surrounded the Parliament building and we supported the censure motion together with them. I am glad that we could create a human chain to try to protect people from what is going on in the Parliament” Orban stated at the Parliament’s Palace after the plenary session in which the censure motion was rejected.
He added that, unfortunately, it appeared that there are more people who are “Dragnea’s servants” in the Parliament than those who respect the citizens’ will.
“I don’t know how long the parliamentarians who are part of the governmental majority will be able to unconsciously accept to support this harmful political power that leads Romania to nowhere. We will continue the fight, we will use all the constitutional democratic means to try to prevent the adoption of all the fiscal aberrations against the economy that this Government has created, as well as to try to prevent the adoption of some legislative provisions that violate the independence of Justice and create the premises of the confiscation of Justice by Dragnea’s clan” Orban stated.