Prime Minister Ludovic Orban announced on Friday having decided with President Klaus Iohannis that holding early elections will be the best solution now for Romania.
“The President of Romania and I have decided that it is best for Romania to hold early elections. The Romanians have made it clear at the referendum, at the elections to the European Parliament, at the presidential election, that they will no longer want the PSD [Social Democratic Party] at rule, than Parliament is currently being dominated by PSD acting as a brake on the President’s and the government’s efforts to put the will of the people into practice; it is absolutely necessary for power to return to the people and the citizens to elect their representatives so that there is a faithful mirror in Parliament of the current options of Romanian citizens that will lead Romania in the right direction, to have a clear Euro-Atlantic positioning, to maximise for Romania the benefits of EU membership and to allow an economic development based on investments, productivity gains, competitiveness, on innovation, research and on making the most of all the opportunities that exist for Romania,” said Orban after meeting Iohannis at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
He did not want to elaborate on the strategy for triggering the early elections.
He showed that it would be useful and good for an early general election to be organised simultaneously with the local elections.
Orban did not want to specify when the first step in triggering the early elections would be taken. He mentioned that the National Liberal Party (PNL) had appointed a working team for discussions with the political parties on the matter.
“As for the will of the president and my will and implicitly PNL’s, it does exist and it is one hundred percent,” said Orban.
He indicated that there are two solutions to trigger the early elections.
He argued that PSD cannot block early elections.
“How would they block early elections? Will they vote for the PNL government? Do you not realize that the whole country will laugh at them,” said Orban.
Asked how he would persuade the PSD to file a censure motion, Orban replied: “You will see!”.
Orban indicated that he also discussed with Iohannis a deadline when the procedure for the early elections should begin, but did not want to disclose it because an analysis should still be carried out regarding the period of time between the dissolution of Parliament, the convening of this ballot by the Government and the date of the elections.
Orban was asked if he would consider reducing the number of MP seats to 300.
He showed that he had presented to Iohannis details of his recent official visit to Brussels.
PSD’s Ciolacu: I don’t believe early elections to happen, firstly because no political crisis exists in Romania
The interim chairman of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Marcel Ciolacu, stated on Friday, in a press conference in southeastern Braila, that he does not believe early elections will take place in the coming period, firstly because “there is no political crisis in Romania”.
“I want to congratulate the decision of the President of Romania to promulgate the PSD law to double the allowances of children. I noted myself yesterday the intention of the President of Romania to get rid of this Government. Honestly he could not say that the PNL [National Liberal Party] Government has no performance and that it compromises the assumption by the President of this government. The President of Romania said it more elegantly, that he wants early elections, but the effect is the same,” stated Ciolacu.
The PSD leader criticized the intention of President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Ludovic Orban to call early elections, claiming that such a demarche “would throw Romania into a superficial political crisis.”
“In Romania we have a government, a minority government, it’s not the first time, we have a newly elected President, we have a functional parliament, I don’t see where the crisis is and, if I take into account the international context, I already start to not understand who would assume the starting of a political crisis in Romania. (…) Why force early elections when we have planned elections this year? Because we believe we’re sitting better in the polls? It’s a democratic abuse. (…) A resignation from Mr. Orban would mean a political mistake towards Romanians and throwing Romania into a superficial political crisis. Who does it must assume it, as the PSD has assumed dismissing its own government,” Marcel Ciolacu also said.
ALDE’s Vosganian: Parties should have dialogue, PSD should cooperate with PNL to rebalance country’s finances
Deputy Varujan Vosganian, the leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) Iasi and a spokesman for this group, Friday told a press conference held in northeastern Iasi, that “the fiscal space is a very tight one” and there should be a dialogue between the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Social Democratic Party (PSD) concerning the rebalancing of the country’s finances.
“Unfortunately, the fiscal space is quite tight. Last year, on top of what the PSD did, there was a certain attempt by the PNL to show how guilty the PSD was. Anyway, we came out better than I thought. The problem is not 2021. In 2020, pensions will only increase in autumn. The problem will be in 2021-2022, but the parties probably think that if elections come it will be the first year and then they will have time to resettle themselves. I believe in this respect there should be a dialogue between the parties, that is, the PSD should take responsibility for its part and should work with the PNL on rebalancing the country, and not blaming one another,” said former finance minister and ALDE Iasi branch leader, deputy Varujan Vosganian.
He mentioned that children allowances represent an example in this regard.
“What happened with children’s allowances is an example in this regard. The fact that in Romania, a country with budgetary tensions, children’s allowances increased four times in a year as a legislative vision, is a fact that makes us think a little of political responsibility. From 80 lei to 320 lei, that means an increase of 240 lei, that is 55 euros/month, which means about 700 euros/year: 700 euros multiplied by almost 4 million means almost 3 billion euros. It is good to give allowances to children, but it is good for those children to have playgrounds, houses, roads to get to the kindergarten, and minibuses,” further said Deputy Varujan Vosganian, former Minister of Finance.
PLUS’s Ciolos: Early elections – only alternative to political impasse we are in
Early elections are the only alternative to the political impasse we are in, says PLUS leader Dacian Ciolos, quoted in a release issued on Friday for AGERPRES by the Save Romania Union and the Liberty, Unity, Solidarity Party (USR PLUS) Alliance.
“The Orban Government will not succeed in carrying out any consistent reform that Romania needs because there is no majority in Parliament to support it. Early elections are not very easy to obtain, but from a political point of view, there is no other alternative,” said Dacian Ciolos.
The USR PLUS Alliance welcomes the fact that Prime Minister Ludovic Orban and President Klaus Iohannis have come to the conclusion that early elections represent the best solution for Romania, reads the release.
USR and PLUS point out that the Alliance proposed, more than four months ago, a political and parliamentary pact to trigger early elections, and “in the absence of signatures on that pact, only the public statements remain and the fear of the old political class to come before Romanians and to ask their support for the urgent reform of the state”.
At the beginning of September 2019, the USR PLUS Alliance proposed to President Klaus Iohannis and to the parliamentary parties in opposition to the Social Democratic Party (PSD) a political and parliamentary pact aimed at calling early elections at the latest together with the local elections. “The proposed pact was the concrete proof of the responsibility with which the USR PLUS Alliance addressed the political crisis in which the PSD and the Dancila Government threw Romania. The idea of the need for early elections was again resumed in the political agreement signed with the National Liberal Party (PNL) before the investiture vote of the Orban Government,” the release said.
PMP’s conditions for supporting early elections: two-round mayoral ballot, slimmed-down Parliament
The National College of the People’s Movement Party (PMP) has decided by unanimous vote to support early elections on two conditions it doesn’t give up, said PMP Chairman Eugen Tomac.
“The PMP National College has decided by unanimous vote to support early elections on two conditions we don’t back down on: the return to two-round mayoral elections and downsizing Parliament to 300 lawmakers. Both are PMP initiatives and have been adopted by the Senate, all they need is the vote in the Chamber of Deputies,” Tomac wrote on Facebook on Friday night.
He also notes that “Romania needs a real restart, not just a momentary one.”