Prime minister-designate Ludovic Orban said on Thursday, after talks with the delegation of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), that as a principle, the formation headed by Calin Popescu-Tariceanu did not raise any issue and that the Liberals also favor a PNL single-party government.
“Following the discussion with the ALDE delegation, I took note of the opinions and requests expressed and I can tell you that most of the points raised are already settled, from my point of view. Flat tax – it’s broadly known that the National Liberal Party is the one that introduced the tax reform consisting of the single tax rate and is a staunch defender thereof. As regards the focus on investments in the 2020 budget draft, this is obviously our objective too, increasing budget allocations for investments. As for unlocking large-scale infrastructure projects and even setting in place a system to monitor the progress of such projects, we also consider this to be an on-point request that we will put into practice. As for Hidroelectrica’s listing, of course we said ‘Yes’. We have been supporting this for a long time now and if we had been at rule, it’s most likely that Hidroelectrica would have been listed since long. Moreover, we also want to list other state-owned companies, such as the Bucharest Airport, CEC Bank – which can be capitalized this way or through an IPO,” Orban said.
He went on to say that as regards the requirements on the judiciary, the PNL respects the will the citizens expressed in the referendum, specifically that the government should have no right to issue emergency ordinances on the judiciary.
“Of course, this doesn’t mean that we do not maintain our point of view, which is already enshrined in the bills we tabled to Parliament – from the bill that repeals the compensatory appeal or repeals it at least for the grave acts committed with violence, murders, rapes and other serious offenses. Regarding the dismantling of the special section for the investigation of criminal offenses in the judiciary, the National Liberal Party has already submitted a bill on this subject. As for other issues related to the two-round election, the National Liberal Party has submitted a draft law which is now under debate in the Chamber of Deputies and which we support. As such, we have no issue with this request either. As a principle, we have nothing to object to any of the points of view expressed by our negotiation partners,” said the PM-designate.
Ludovic Orban emphasized that a single-party government is PNL’s option too.
“ALDE expressed their option for a single-party Liberal government. This is our choice too. So far there have been no explicit requests for participation in the government with ministers. Of course, at a different level, we are open to experts, competent professionals or solutions our partners might suggest. That’s what we said in the previous discussions with all our partners,” said the PNL leader.
At the end of Thursday’s negotiations with Pro Romania, UDMR and ALDE, the PM-designate said that he is confident that the Liberals will succeed in having the government invested, together with the formations that backed the no-confidence motion.
“I am confident that together with the political parties with the help of which we managed to achieve this fundamental objective for Romania, namely to topple the PSD Government led by Viorica Dancila, we will also succeed to have the government’s invested. So far I do not see any major points of divergence that could cause one formation or another to not vote for the new government. We embarked together on a course, and I don’t see why we would stop halfway, because the Dancila Government, or the remains of this lineup is further exercising power – indeed to a limited extent – although it has been dismissed by no-confidence motion. Each day new illegal acts are being committed at the Victoria Palace, they illegally pursue fixing into positions their political clientele whom they promoted through the back door, they generate public spending with no financial coverage. They also sign contracts or try to force the signing of contracts for which the legal conditions are not met just in order to generate obligations for the future government. Each day the Dancila Government further stays in command poses a major risk for Romania and causes negative consequences in the long and medium term for everyone,” said Ludovic Orban.
Tariceanu: ‘Mono-color’ PNL Gov’t – condition we do not negotiate
Chairman of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) Calin Popescu-Tariceanu said on Thursday that the MPs of the party he heads will only support a ‘mono-color’ executive in the parliamentary investiture vote of the Orban Government.
“We explicitly asked PNL [the National Liberal Party] to form a ‘mono-color’ government, which is, indeed, a very serious condition, on the basis of which we will be able to give our vote or not. (…) There are a number of issues that we have discussed, but which are non-negotiable, such as the mono-color government issue. It seems slightly unnatural to me if PNL intends to form a ‘multi-color’ government, formed of several parties. The risk is that the PNL will become a minority in its own government, because the PNL has up to a hundred parliamentarians, and the parliamentary majority needs a minimum of 233. So, the others will become the majority within the structure of the government,” Tariceanu said after consultations with Prime Minister-designate Ludovic Orban.
The ALDE leader mentioned that he requested that a government led by Orban be restructured in relation to the current Executive.
“We do not agree with this excessive formula at the moment, whether we are talking about ministers or talking about secretaries of state,” added Tariceanu, noting that he did not specifically discuss with the PNL about the future structure of the government.
Ponta, after the consultations with Orban: It’s not up to me, there are five right-wing parties, I am waiting them to agree with each other
Pro Romania Chairman Victor Ponta stated on Thursday, after the consultations with Ludovic Orban, that his party’s medium-and long-term objective is to rebuild social democracy in Romania. Ponta says that the investiture of the next Government is not up to Pro Romania, but to the five right-wing parties that should agree with each other. “I responded to the invitation of our PNL colleagues and the designated PM to have a brief discussion. We are a new, small center-left party, but we have a great goal: to represent and protect the interests of the left-wing voters, which unfortunately was betrayed by PSD. So, the discussions couldn’t have gone forward, in the sense that we will say that we will vote for the Government, no way. We have a medium- and long-term objective, which is to rebuild social democracy in Romania”, Victor Ponta stated on Thursday, after the discussion with Ludovic Orban.
He mentioned that Florin Catu also attended the meeting, for which reason they asked for information regarding the budget.
“First of all, we’re expecting this Government to tell us how the budget looks like. When someone sees the figures, the budget, he realizes, actually, how the next year will be – fees, investments, taxes. Secondly, we said we support early elections to take place at the same time with the local elections, or one week later, because this way, parliamentary proceedings can also be achieved (…), instead of being in a crisis during the whole year of 2020. Starting with May, we should know who has a majority, who rules Romania, who is in the Opposition, because now everything is messed”, Ponta added.
He said that he didn’t ask for ministries and the designated PM didn’t make any offer in this regard.
“If we wanted ministries, we would have taken them from Mrs. Dancila. We have a project”, Ponta also said.
Victor Ponta said that the investiture of the new Government is not up to Pro Romania.
“There are five right-wing parties – PNL, USR, PMP, ALDE and UDMR. These five parties should agree with each other”, Ponta also stated, mentioning that Ludovic Orban should act as in the case of the no confidence motion and he should exactly see what parliamentarians will vote according to the signatures.
“If they need Pro Romania’s votes, we will discuss on that”, Ponta added.
Kelemen Hunor: UDMR did not promise to back PNL Gov’t. Confidence level between the two parties is low
UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor claims he did not promise to back the Government, invoking that the “level of confidence between the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania and the National Liberal Party is low due to what has happened in recent years.”
“We believe we must continue these discussions. Next week, we will show our groups everything we discussed today. We did not promise backing, we said we will discuss with our groups, because the level of confidence between the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania and the National Liberal Party is low due to what has happened in recent years, and that is why very sincere and very often deeper discussions are needed to see what the Government wants to do, if they need our support. If they don’t need our support, of course, there is no need for applied discussions,” the Hungarian leader said.
He pointed out that a written agreement would be the “optimal solution.”
“We talked about this too, potentially considering a written agreement too. We haven’t taken a decision regarding a written agreement but, based on my experience in Romanian politics – not very long, only 20 years, not 30 –, even written agreements are very often broken,” he said.
Kelemen pointed out that he did not talk with Ludovic Orban about snap elections because they cannot be held.
“If the Government has been confirmed, snap elections are out of the question, so we haven’t tackled this topic. I’ve said several times that we don’t want snap elections, but we would be ready for snap elections tomorrow too if they were to be held.”
The UDMR leader pointed out that he asked the Premier-designate about the one-year programme he will bring before Parliament and about “the real problems that the country faces,” but also about the fiscal and budgetary outlook for next year.
Against this backdrop, Kelemen Hunor said that the ethnic Hungarian citizen of Romania are interested in “a very rapid” budget adjustment and that Parliament should receive a draft budget for 2020 by December 10-15.
“The budgetary philosophy should change a bit, based on investments,” Kelemen Hunor said. He pointed out that he asked the Premier-designate not to amend the electoral law ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections.
“We have asked for no emergency ordinances on the judicial laws, for no emergency ordinances on the electoral system, and no assumption of responsibility before Parliament. We shouldn’t modify the electoral law – via Government intervention – in 2019, ahead of local and parliamentary elections,” the UDMR leader explained.
He pointed out that he asked the Premier-designate to earmark 6 per cent of GDP for education next year.