The Government led by Viorica Dancila was confirmed by Parliament on Monday, with 282 votes in favour, 136 against, and one abstention after the designated ministers had been heard in the specialist committees. The Dancila Government needed at least 233 votes in favour.
According to the official count, 429 MPs were present and 419 valid votes were cast.
This is the third PSD-ALDE Government since the ruling coalition won the elections in 2016. The Sorin Grindeanu Government was confirmed with 295 votes, while the Mihai Tudose Government was confirmed with 275 votes.
While the nominated ministers were taking part in the confirmation hearings by the specialized parliamentary committees, Liviu Dragnea and Calin Popescu Tariceanu – the Speakers of the two Chambers – sent a letter to President Klaus Iohannis, informing him that the confirmation vote will take place o Monday and expressing their hope that the President will organise the swearing-in ceremony for the ministers later that evening.
In the first part of the meeting, Premier-designate Viorica Dancila presented her governing programme. After that, the leaders of the parliamentary groups addressed Parliament, and the confirmation vote followed.
Shortly before the vote, UDMR announced that the Union decided to endorse the new Government, considering that PSD and ALDE at any rate had the number of votes needed to confirm the Cabinet.
PM-designate, in Parliament: We’ll govern with pride and respect for Romanians
The new Government will govern “with pride and respect” for Romanians, Prime Minister-designate Viorica Dancila told Parliament’s plenary sitting on Monday.
“I represent together with my designated colleagues proposed for the future Government the political will of the ruling coalition in Parliament. This government proposal brings in front of you the result of the parliamentary elections of December 2016. Today you will vote not for persons, but for the will of Romania’s citizens expressed democratically. If we get this vote, we’ll govern with respect and pride for Romanians, constantly watching the governance programme” Dancila said.
She pointed out that she has an advantage over the prime ministers who preceded her.
“It is for the first time when the governance programme of a political majority enjoys such a high awareness level, both in the political environment and in the media, as well as among the population,” Dancila also said.
Dancila: My goal is to have Romania ranking among strongest economies in EU, in 2020
Prime Minister-designate Viorica Dancila told the Parliament’s plenary sitting on Monday that the objective of her term in office is for Romania to be ranked, in 2020, in the upper-half of the ranking of the strongest economies in the EU.
“My term’s goal is for Romania to be in the top half of the ranking of the strongest economies in the European Union in 2020, so that the youth should no longer leave Romania, and those who already left would wish to come back home,” Dancila said.
Likewise, Dancila said that, in what concerns investments, she has the advantage of not starting from scratch as happened after the technocratic Government.
“In what concerns the investments, I have the great advantage of not starting from scratch, as happened at the start of the PSD-ALDE governance, after the technocratic Government. That is why I thank the Governments of 2017, which worked on devising the investments projects and the unblocking of European grants,” she added.
The Premier-designate said that during her term the absorption rate will start from almost 11 percent, and the absorbed European grants will total EUR 30 billion by 2020.
“I’m going to start my term in office from an absorption rate of almost 11 percent. This will allow us to reach EUR 30 billion in absorbed European grants by 2020, namely an absorption [rate] of 72.5 percent,” Dancila said.
Viorica Dancila: Raising salaries is the path we should take. In 2020 the net minimum salary will surpass EUR 300
Premier-designate Viorica Dancila stated in Parliament, before the confirmation vote, that the hiking of salaries is the path that should be taken, claiming that the net minimum salary will surpass EUR 300 in 2020.
“I want Romanians to have salaries as close to those in the European Union as possible. Last year’s salary hikes have lowered by 70 percent the number of physicians who leave the country. This is the path we must take, raising salaries. In 2020, the net minimum salary will surpass EUR 300,” Dancila claimed.
Likewise, she said the hiking of the pension point must be continued, and inequities must be eliminated through a new pension law.
In her speech, Dancila also referred to administrative reform: “We are a country with one of the best IT infrastructures in the world. I want most transactions and lodging of documents to take place online. I’m considering cutting red tape by simplifying the fiscal system, reducing or merging the number of taxes. I’m considering a maximum of 50 taxes with general application and as soon as possible.”
Dragnea: Ms Viorica Dancila has breathed Western air, has distanced herself from the Romanian way of engaging in politics
On Monday, PSD President Liviu Dragnea described Viorica Dancila, within the joint plenum convened for the vote on the confirmation of the third PSD-ALDE Government since the 2016 elections, as “a pleasant and reasonable woman who has breathed the Western air and has distanced herself from the Romanian way of engaging in politics, often dominated by petty stakes and personal interests.”
“A few words about Viorica Dancila. She is a civilised person, a pleasant and reasonable woman. She has lengthy practice within the European Parliament. I’ve always appreciated her politeness. She loves dialogue and is non-conflictual. She has the advantage of having spent nine years away from Romanian politics. She breathed the Western air. She distanced herself from the Romanian way of engaging in politics, often dominated by petty stakes and personal interests,” Dragnea said.
The PSD President also said the new Government has a programme “in which the population saw solutions.” “This country’s citizens are now living better,” the PSD leader claimed.
Turning to Viorica Dancila, Dragnea said it is important what she does from now on. “If during your term in office Romanians will live better, it means you carried out your mission,” he added.
“In 2016, the PSD-ALDE governance started the implementation of the most ambitious governing programme, but our opponents have made great efforts to prevent us from implementing it”
House Speaker Liviu Dragnea stated on Monday that PSD-ALDE started to implement, in 2016, the most ambitious governing programme in the last 27 years, but their “opponents” tried to prevent it.
“In 2016, the PSD-ALDE governance started the implementation of the most ambitious governing programme in the last 27 years. Our opponents made great efforts to prevent us from implementing the governance programme,” Liviu Dragnea stated in Parliament.
He emphasised that the Government must perform in a European spirit, but to the Romanians’ benefit.
Likewise, Dragnea added that Romania’s economy is still fragile after the communist period and that it is time for the economy “to receive its portion of oxygen.”
“Romania’s economy is still fragile, vulnerable, it is trying hard to overcome the pain the communist past forced it to go through. It’s time for this economy to receive its portion of oxygen,” Dragnea added.
PNL’s Turcan: Don’t let Liviu Dragnea’s paranoia completely destroy Romania
PNL First Vice President Raluca Turcan called on the Opposition and on the representatives of ethnic minorities not to vote for the Dancila Government, not to let “Liviu Dragnea’s paranoia completely destroy Romania.”
Raluca Turcan criticised the fourth nomination for the Prime Minister’s office in the past year, but also all the 27 nominated ministers.
“The question on the lips of an ever-growing number of Romanians is whether a woman will succeed where PSD’s men have failed. It would be interesting for you to succeed, for Romania and for Romanian women. You are the fourth nomination for the Prime Minister’s office, one that Mr Dragnea has personally made, he himself admitting he has a poor hand when it comes to Prime Ministers. Failing so many times in a single year says a lot about you. Even had you played the lotto it would have been difficult to get it wrong so many times.”
The main criterion on which the decision to nominate Dancila as Prime Minister was based consisted of Dragnea’s personal interest, Turcan said. “He wants a comfortable person who has no political opinions and who would rapidly carry out what she receives in an envelope from the party.”
Turning to Viorica Dancila, Turcan said: “If you have dignity, you should pray you won’t get the confirmation vote today. Because Liviu Dragnea has directly informed you, via Calin Popescu Tariceanu, that you won’t be a true Premier, you will be a kind of administrator, not even a full-fledged administrator. Someone who carries out what she is told.”
Turcan said that Tariceanu’s statement, according to which Dancila will not have a Premier’s prerogatives, is “the worst constitutional attack against the Prime Minister’s prerogatives.”
Thus, she called on her colleagues not to vote for the Government that “tramples the prerogatives of the office of Prime Minister.”
She also put into doubt the governing programme, stating that it is “patched-up, improvised, does not refer to the Romanians’ day-to-day problems.”
“You’ve lied to this country’s population in a terrible way and you are harassing precisely those who are working. Why? Just because they don’t vote for you?”
Turcan expressed her hope that UDMR would not dare endorse the third PSD-ALDE Government. “I’m looking at the Opposition partners, at the minorities – don’t let Liviu Dragnea’s paranoia completely destroy Romania!”
Basescu: I pray that this Government’s life will be as short as possible
People’s Movement Party (PMP) Chairman Traian Basescu said on Monday in the joint plenum of the two Chambers of the Parliament that only two or three people are valuable in the Dancila Government, while some other people are ill, “with a flexible spine”, and others can hardly speak the Romanian language, in this last category alluding to the grammatical mistakes of the proposed Education Minister, Valentin Popa. “This is the level of the Vasilica Viorica Dragnea Government” Traian Basescu added, mentioning that he prays that this Government’s term will be a short one.
“No one can deny that 2017 ended with an economic growth, salaries and pensions increased in 2017. But what were the costs? The alliance usually forgets to say. Galloping inflation, Robor increase” Traian Basescu stated.
He said that investments were catastrophic in terms of the country’s development, appreciating that Romania’s development cannot be done by increasing salaries, but by investments. Basescu labeled the governing program as “a lie” and said that it is not feasible.
Referring to the structure of the proposed Government, the PMP leader said that it is the largest Government in the European Union and “maybe we should make a poster with that”.
In terms of quality, Traian Basescu said that there are few valuable people, some ill people, “with a flexible spine”, and there are others who can hardly speak Romanian language.
“In terms of quality, there are two or three valuable people, there are also some people who are ill, with a flexible spine, and there is one more category of people who can hardly Romanian language”. Starting from today, I will not be upset anymore about Hungarians because they speak Romanian improperly, since we also have one guy who cuts the ‘rippon’ and who walks in the parliamentary committees saying that the ‘rippon’ is a regionalism. But ‘the othern’ minister whose knees were sore, used a regionalism, indeed’ Traian Basescu stated.
The PMP leader said that he wishes that the “Vasilica Viorica Dragnea” Government will have a short term.
“This is the level of the Vasilica Viorica Dragnea Government, and all I can do is to pray that this Government’s life will be as short as possible” Basescu underlined.
Varujan Vosganian: I propose a pact to my colleagues in the opposition: you take care of Dragnea, and we take care of governing
MP Varujan Vosganian held a speech on Monday in the plenary session of the Parliament, in which he spoke about the achievements of the PSD-ALDE coalition in 2017, mentioning that the country has the big chance “to have a Prime Minister whose image can be built together with this new Government”.
“I propose a pact to my colleagues in the opposition: you take care of Dragnea, and we take care of governing” he said at the beginning of his speech.
He continued: “When a new Government is invested, we have a good opportunity to think about what we leave behind, and what we should expect. In this regard, I think we didn’t abandon this mentality that sees in this land a chronic culture of poverty, this mentality saying that Romanians are cursed to be born and to die poor is still haunting us. I don’t know who has anything to win by inoculating a feeling of helplessness” Vosganian stated.
He pointed out that in 2017, “even with three Prime Minister proposals, the Gross Domestic Product has increased by over RON 90 million”. He also mentioned the increased number of jobs and the fact that the income of the population has increased, too.
“I give you bad news and god news about this Government: the bad news is that Mrs. Dancila is little known, the good news is that Mrs. Dancila is little known”, Vosganian also said. “We have a big chance to have a Prime Minister whose image can be built together with this new Government”.
He spoke about LADE’s expectations – they hope that Tudorel Toader will complete the policy regarding the reformation in Justice, and that the same will happen in the future regarding the fiscal policy.
After almost 30 years, in this chronic culture of poverty that ossifies like corals on the rocks, the time has come to get rid of this curse saying that Romanians are cursed to be born and to die poor. The time has come for us to be saved”.
USR’s Barna: Mrs. Dancila’s mandate is to complete the subordination of Justice to the interests of Liviu Dragnea and his clique
USR Chairman Dan Barna stated on Monday in the joint plenum of the Parliament that the appointed PM Viorica Dancila will only “finalize the subordination of Justice to Liviu Dragnea’s interests”, and after 100 years since the Great Union, Romania has to cope with the perspective of an authoritarian and totalitarian regime, returning to the period before the Revolution of 1989.
“USR will vote against Dancila Government. This is the only normal thing we can do in this ridiculous situation. I wonder how many Governments must fall until we will be able to stop this repeating masquerade, and until when the loyalty to a head of a party will make you to violate the responsibility you have towards the people who sent you in Parliament. Perhaps you remember them – those people in the street that you are supposed to represent. While Liviu Dragnea is changing the Governments with the seasons, these people are spending more money on food, gas or electricity”, Dan Barna stated in the plenary session of the Parliament.
Barna also says that the Grindeanu Government and the Tudose Government were removed because they didn’t support the amendments on the Laws on Justice, while Viorica Dancila comes to complete “the subordination of Justice to Liviu Dragnea’s interests”.
“(…) Liviu Dragnea removed Tudose and Grindeanu because both of them hesitated to assume the Laws on Justice. Grindeanu was terribly scared of the people’s resistance and he withdrew GEO no.13, and Tudose refused to assume responsibility on the amendments on the Laws on Justice. Now, Mrs. Viroica Dancila is coming (…) Mrs. Dancila’s mandate is to complete the subordination of Justice to the interests of Liviu Dragnea and his clique. If you will succeed, Mrs. Dancila, you may spend Christmas at the Victoria Palace. If not, it is very likely to follow Tudose and Grindeanu in a warm position (…)” Dan Barna continued.
Dan Barna also compared the current way of governing with Erdogan’s Turkey or Viktor Orban’s Hungary, and said that we returned to the times before the Revolution.
“It is a bitter irony, after 100 years since the Great Union, to face again the perspective of an authoritarian and totalitarian regime. Unfortunately to all of us, Dragnea’s Romania begins to have the walking and the look of Erdogan’s Turkey and Orban’s Hungary, or of Putin’s Russia. An obedient state, a kneeling justice, a divided society. We are returning where we left from 29 years ago, we are returning where we stayed in a puddle for 45 years, and you are going to make the first step. I just want to thank to the hundreds of thousands of Romanians who came out in the street in the last 12 months. If there is something that Romania won in the last year, you are this thing, those of you who chose not to stand aside. I urge you not to give up, I urge you to resist” he concluded.
Kelemen: We too will give PSD-ALDE a new chance at the plenary vote
UDMR President Kelemen Hunor announced on Monday that the Union decided to give PSD-ALDE a chance at the confirmation vote in Parliament and will subsequently vote in favour of the Dancila Cabinet.
“We had a discussion within the joint groups, we analysed on one hand the governing programme and, on the other, the political situation and the alternatives to PSD-ALDE. Who would govern if not them? Does anyone have a proposition from the Opposition, one that could be taken seriously? And the conclusion was that there is no such proposition. Arithmetically, the PSD-ALDE coalition holds the majority. They have ten votes more than what is required to confirm the Government,” Kelemen Hunor stated on Monday.
The UDMR President added that following an analysis of the governing programme there are things that were voted twice by his parliamentary party “and nothing changed.”
“It would be difficult to argue why we didn’t vote the third time around, although it is not a common occurrence to change the Government every six months. There are also things that must and will be criticised. Today we will give the PSD-ALDE coalition a chance at the confirmation of the Government.”
Decentralisation remains one of UDMR’s desiderata. He pointed out he talked with Viorica Dancila about it last week. “We discussed this important project, which was part of a large package adopted back in 2013 but which did not pass the constitutionality test, but not because there was a problem with decentralisation but because the local and county council decisions needed to receive assets and prerogatives weren’t. I understand that it remains a goal for the Government too – that is what our colleagues said last week when they came to us.”
Concerning the proposed members of the Dancila Government, Kelemen Hunor said some convinced him. “Some were convincing, others less so, but that’s how it has always been. There’s nothing new. There are several nominated ministers who will maybe prove to be good administrators, but we’re not voting the list, we’re not voting persons.”
The autonomy of the Szekely Land, Kelemen Hunor said, has been a goal for 28 years. “It remains an important goal for the Hungarian community, undertaken by the UDMR.”
He announced that on Tuesday, at 10 a.m., UDMR will analyse the collaboration protocol. “During each parliamentary session we conduct an analysis and we draw a conclusion: we either move forward, or we denounce the collaboration protocol. We will take this decision tomorrow.”
Kelemen Hunor met Ludovic Orban before the vote. UDMR leader: To convince me a few hours before the vote you must start the talks months before
Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) President Kelemen Hunor on Monday morning had a meeting with National Liberal Party (PNL) President Ludovic Orban, at the latter’s initiative. Kelemen said UDMR will decide one hour before the plenary meeting whether to vote for the confirmation of the Dancila Cabinet. Referring to his meeting with Orban, he said that in order to be convinced several hours before the vote the talks should have started months before.Asked whether Ludovic Orban convinced him, Kelemen Hunor said: “Anyone who wants to talk to me, the door is open. He called me up late last evening, I called him back this morning. We had a cup of coffee and that’s that. I don’t have more interesting information for you. We will take a decision at 2 p.m. It wasn’t an issue of convincing me. To convince me a few hours before the vote, you must start the talks weeks, months before. So, from this standpoint, things are more complicated. But this isn’t important. What’s important is that he wanted us to meet, and we met.”
In what concerns his statement that the governing programme looks as if it was devised at the Agriculture Ministry, after a couple of beers, the UDMR leader said it is good to have a sense of humour.
“I’ll give you one example. If you look at the transportation chapter, I get the feeling someone glanced at the map of Romania as it was 100 years ago, on the Great Union, because they made some absolutely mindboggling things with the Transylvania Expressway. Brasov-Sibiu was not a part of the Transylvania Expressway. They included it there, without there being an expressway from Brasov to Targu Mures, not even the project is drafted. Then the part of the expressway at Campia Turzii, they included it in the Montana [Expressway], it looks as if it goes toward Iasi. From this standpoint, I said that the person who wrote that chapter probably didn’t have a map at hand,” Kelemen Hunor explained.
Orban: We will openly vote against the confirmation of the Gov’t
As early as Sunday evening, PNL President Ludovic Orban stated that the Liberals will openly vote against the confirmation of the Dancila Government and called on the other members of the House and Senate, “who still have reason and a bit of sensitivity to Romania’s fate,” to do the same.
“Together with the parliamentary groups, we have decided within the National Political Bureau to openly vote against the confirmation of the Government – so we will not vote for this Government –, to continue the communication, the dialogue and the attempt to convince any parliamentarian of the current majority. We call on the parliamentarians representing the ethnic minorities, on UDMR and, likewise, on the parliamentarians who still have reason and a bit of sensitivity to Romania’s fate to vote against the confirmation of this Government. Any PSD parliamentarian who knows that Dragnea is taking Romania to the precipice, that Dragnea will take PSD to total collapse… if they want to get rid of Dragnea now is their chance, now, in the eleventh hour,” PNL President Ludovic Orban stated.
He added that, with the confirmation of the Dancila Government, Liviu Dragnea will become the de facto Premier and “will do as he pleases” when it comes to governmental decisions.
“I hope nobody imagines that Vasilica Viorica Dancila will be this country’s Premier,” Orban added.
In the PNL President’s opinion, it is inadmissible to reduce a minister’s confirmation hearing to 30 minutes, this being why he asked PNL MPs not to accept it.
Orban once again criticised the governing programme assumed by Viorica Dancila, claiming that the document “looks as if it was written in a state of intoxication.”
“I don’t agree with Mr Kelemen Hunor, who said it is written after a couple of beers. I believe it is written after 200 [ml] of whiskey, between the 400th and the 500th [ml] of whiskey. It looks like a programme written in a state of intoxication, or a programme written in gest, with complete disrespect and contempt for the citizen,” Orban said.
Ludovic Orban argued that most of the measures included in the new governing programme are copied from the old governing programme and their deadlines have been pushed back by a year, as happened in the case of the fiscal measures and investment objectives.
“It’s a collection of nonsense and a new string of whopping lies that have absolutely no grounds,” Orban concluded.
Statements after the Parliament’s confirmation vote
PM Dancila: I’ll have a meeting with ministers tonight, at Victoria Palace; first gov’t meeting Wednesday
Prime Minister-designate Viorica Dancila announced that she will have the first meeting with the ministers of her Cabinet on Monday evening, at the Victoria Palace, with the first government meeting to be held on Wednesday.
“Tonight, of course, we will take our oath, after which we will go to the Government and I will have a first meeting with the ministers, following that on Wednesday we will have the first government meeting,” stated Dancila, after the Cabinet was validated by the plenum of the Parliament.
She specified she was glad the MPs granted their trust to this Executive, which is headed by a woman.
“The Government has been validated with a large majority, which for me is an occasion for joy, but also for taking responsibility for all those who showed they trusted this government and they trusted a woman Prime Minister,” stated Viorica Dancila.
Dragnea: I hope this Government will be in office with this prime minister until 2020
The Chamber of Deputies’ Speaker Liviu Dragnea, PSD leader, voiced hope that the new Cabinet, invested on Monday by Parliament, will be in office until the end of the mandate, until 2020, respectively.
“It is a majority of more than 60% that gives stability to the Government and gives confidence. The Government led by Mrs. Dancila has all the conditions to put into practice the government program, to meet the targets established by the program voted in Parliament. It will have the Parliament’s support and the support of the ruling coalition.
I am convinced that it will manage very well the relationship between the Government and the political coalition … I understand that they will hold a government meeting on Wednesday, where they will adopt one or two important measures. I and my colleagues hope that this government will stay in office with this prime minister until the end of its mandate, in 2020,” Dragnea told Parliament.
He added that the evaluation of ministers will be one of the objectives of Prime Minister Viorica Dancila.