Romania’s Prime Minister-designate Nicolae Ciuca on Saturday has submitted to Parliament the governing programme and the list of his Cabinet ministers endorsed by the National Liberal party PNL. The investiture vote for the new Cabinet is scheduled on Wednesday. The proposed ministers will be heard by the specialized parliamentary committees on Tuesday.
The list of ministers in the new cabinet was announced on Friday by the PM-designate. Thus, Alina Gorghiu will pick up the Justice portfolio, Lucian Bode is the proposal for the Interior Minister, Bogdan Aurescu will return to the Foreign Ministry, Raluca Turcan to the Labor Ministry , while Catalin Predoiu is the Liberals’ proposal for the Defense Ministry.
PNL has not given up on the idea of a minority government together with the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), which has proposed Attila Cseke as the new Minister for Development and Eduard Novak at the Ministry of Youth and Sports. UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor will be deputy prime minister.
On Friday Ciuca said that although mathematically speaking, the cabinet he proposes has no chances to be approved by Parliament, talks are underway with MPs until the last moment. On the other hand, the interim Prime Minister and PNL leader Florin Citu displays confidence, despite not having secured support in Parliament, neither from the Social Democratic Party (PSD), nor from their former government partner, the Save Romania Union (UNION). Citu has given assurances the new cabinet will get the necessary votes.
PNL’s Citu: Ciuca minority government will pass, we are talking to each parliamentarian separately
Chairman of the National Liberal Party (PNL) Florin Citu announced on Friday that the governing program and the list of ministers who will be part of the Ciuca Cabinet have been approved by the Liberals’ Executive Bureau and gave assurances that the proposed government team will pass in Parliament, and discussions will take place “with each member of parliament”.
“We have put under debate and approved the governing program and the list of ministers from the Nicolae Ciuca Cabinet. The list of ministers was approved with one abstention, and the governing program unanimously,” Citu said at the end of the PNL Executive Bureau meeting.
Citu also stated that the Ciuca minority government will pass in Parliament, showing that the strategy aims at discussions with each parliamentarian, separately.
“This Government will get the nod of approval, you will see. It is a Government that will have support because we have a government program with solutions for this period that Romania is going through. It is a Government that can govern Romania, the government program comes exactly with the solutions. You have already seen many of them, but there are solutions for the next period. (…) The strategy is to talk to each parliamentarian, individually, in order to get the necessary votes. You know very well that two years ago when we brought down the Dancila Government, it seemed impossible. There are talks going on with each parliamentarian separately,” Citu added.
The PNL leader added that he expects responsibility from the other parties and that they will also discuss in the next period, until Wednesday.
“There will be discussions tomorrow, but the mandate remained the same as we had from the beginning – a minority government around PNL, together with UDMR [Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania] and supported by minorities,” he said.
He was also asked if President Klaus Iohannis had asked the Liberals to impose a government around Nicolae Ciuca at any cost.
“Mr. Nicolae Ciuca’s proposal came from me. I submitted it in BPN [the National Standing Bureau]. Nobody asked us to make a Government around Mr. Nicolae Ciuca. It was a proposal that I made in BPN. (.. .) There are decisions that we make in the leadership forums, it is neither I nor Mr. Ciuca that make them,” Florin Citu said.
PM-designate admits the numbers are against his government’s winning Parliament’s approval
Prime Minister-designate Nicolae Ciuca admitted on Friday that the numbers are against his government’s winning Parliament’s approval, but that if the line-up is however voted in on Wednesday, this can be a gain of time for parties to find common ground.
“Sure, the way the situation and the figures look, mathematically the government has no chance to pass. There has been quite a lot of inflexibility during negotiations and we realized that we probably cannot reach a political agreement to muster a majority to approve the government in Parliament. However, given the very complicated situation we are in today, I decided to go with the governing program and the Cabinet before Parliament, because there is still time until Wednesday. There is time for each lawmaker to reflect, I think each of them can ponder on what our message to the electorate in our constituencies is; I don’t have political experience, but I can realize that even if no political agreement is reached, by voting for this government we can gain time for political parties to discuss and find the lines of commonality to render their political projects compatible,” Nicolae Ciuca said.
The Prime Minister-designate underscored that a full power government is needed to sort out the crises facing Romania.
“On top of this crisis situation we are in today – both the health crisis and the one caused by the rise in energy and gas prices, and the growing food prices – we also have this political crisis the politicians must sort out. By voting this government they have the possibility to all sit down for negotiations and find a common denominator. More than that, we are talking about the National Recovery Resilience Plan, which was approved by ECOFIN, we will soon have to put it into practice and manage these funds. For this we need a government with full powers to initiate all the steps, both the legislative proposals and assemble a parliamentary majority for those laws to be approved. That’s the situation and these are the arguments for my decision to go with the governing program and the Cabinet list before Parliament,” Ciuca said.
Ciuca: PSD wanted to govern, but PNL gave clear mandate, minority government
Prime Minister-designate Nicolae Ciuca stated, on Friday, that the Social Democratic Party (PSD) wanted to govern, but said that the National Liberal Party (PNL) gave a clear mandate for a minority government.
He was asked if he would have been comfortable governing with ministers from the PSD.
“At this time, the issue hasn’t been raised for such a construct. We prepared all discussions and negotiated on the issue of the mandate. This is not for me to say as a person or any one person, these are political decisions, which must be assumed at the level of the party’s leadership, at the level of the leadership of the parties, because we find ourselves in this situation, exactly due to these negotiation lines which were not accepted,” said Ciuca after the meeting of the PNL’s Executive Bureau.
The Prime Minister-designate showed that he discussed on the phone with Save Romania Union (USR) and PSD leaders the main lines of negotiation.
“We analyzed, maybe even detail elements, because this is the decision that was taken today by the party’s leadership. These were the proposals. The PSD wanted to enter government and… (…) It’s not only about my decision. I wasn’t building a Government only of my own,” said Ciuca.
The PNL chair, Florin Citu, mentioned in his turn that there were three consultations in the party regarding the negotiation mandate, but that each time it remained the same, namely a minority Government with the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR), supported by the minorities.
“We returned around three times in the party to consultations about the mandate. Each time, we returned with the same thing. (…) We had three consultations on this mandate, the moment it was approved and, then, each time we went back and consulted and the mandate remained the same,” he emphasized.
Citu was asked if he excludes the option of a technocratic Prime Minister or a PSD Prime Minister, with support from the PNL, if the Ciuca Government does not pass Parliament.
“Any option will be discussed in the leadership fora of the party and if it meets the majority of votes, it will be accepted,” he answered, according to Agerpres.
UDMR to continue working together with PNL in minority Gov’t, receives new portfolio
The Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) has decided to continue to work together with the National Liberal Party (PNL) in a minority government and has negotiated a new portfolio, UDMR Chairman Kelemen Hunor announced.
Thus, UDMR gets a position of Deputy Prime Minister and four portfolios – Development, Environment, Youth & Sports, Investments & European Projects.
“On Friday we had several meetings within the Union’s internal structures, first with the presidents of county organizations, then we had the online meeting of the Council of Union Representatives and we decided to continue working with PNL in a minority government. (…) Following negotiations, UDMR will get a new portfolio allocated. According to today’s meeting of the Union’s Standing Council, our picks for office are: Kelemen Hunor – Deputy Prime Minister, Attila Cseke – for Minister of Development, Public Works and Administration, Tanczos Barna – for Minister of Environment, Waters and Forests, Eduard Novak – for Minister of Youth and Sports, and Csilla Hegedus was proposed to head the Ministry of European Investments and Projects,” Kelemen Hunor said in a press release.
He added that although no parliamentary majority to back the government has been assembled yet, UDMR does not flip-flop on supporting the Cabinet.
“We are aware that there isn’t yet a parliamentary majority to vote the government in, but we consider it is important to stay consistent,” UDMR leader stated also, according to Agerpres.