PSD and ALDE MPs were summoned at Parliament on Sunday afternoon, in order to sign, table and read the no-confidence motion against the Grindeanu Government.
PSD’s Senate whip Mihai Fifor announced last Friday that the PSD and ALDE parliamentary groups would meet on Sunday at 4 p.m. and the joint plenary meeting in which the no-confidence motion is to be read would start at 4.30 p.m. on the same day.
116 signatures are needed to table the no-confidence motion, since the Constitution stipulates that a no-confidence motion can be tabled if undersigned by a fourth of the total number of MPs.
According to the websites of the Lower Chamber and the Senate, PSD has 221 MPs in both Houses of Parliament, and ALDE has 26, the ruling coalition thus totaling 247 MPs.
In what concerns the parties that are outside the ruling coalition, PNL has 98 MPs, USR 43, UDMR 30, PMP 26, the ethnic minorities 17, and 3 MPs are independents.
PSD’s leadership has decided that all those who are absent when the motion is put up for vote will be automatically excluded from the party.
PSD-ALDE’s no-confidence motion against the Grindeanu Government will be debated and put up for vote on Wednesday. 233 votes are needed for the Government to be toppled. PSD and ALDE have a total of 247 MPs. Hence, if 14 MPs are absent, Sorin Grindeanu will remain Romania’s Premier.
The Premier’s camp claims it has convinced at least 15 MPs not to show up for the vote. How disciplined the ruling power’s MPs are, was visible on Sunday when they were summoned to attend the reading of the motion.
The Social Democratic Party is ready to rule drastic sanctions against those who back Sorin Grindeanu through their behavior.
“All PSD MPs who do not vote and who are members and backers of this Government should be excluded. I’ve personally phoned those you’ve named as not willing to show up, to vote, and they all confirmed it’s misinformation,” Lower Chamber Deputy Speaker Florin Iordache said.
Liviu Dragnea’s opponents contradict Florin Iordache. MEP Catalin Ivan announced that “at this moment there are 15 PSD MPs from Moldavia and from elsewhere, with whom I talked, who will not vote the motion.”
Despite being considered close to Victor Ponta, who is now in Sorin Grindeanu’s camp, Senator Robert Cazanciuc firmly stated he will back his colleagues’ motion.
“I still believe a no-confidence motion is the legal solution, but I believe tendering a resignation is the gesture that all the party members Mr Grindeanu was talking about are expecting him to make,” Robert Cazanciuc said.
“Sorin Grindeanu has forgotten the party and the ExCom leadership that endorsed him. His attention was somewhere else, which makes him a Prime Minister who clings to his office,” MEP Viorica Bancila said.
Welcomed with cheers and ovations at his Timis County branch, Sorin Grindeanu expressed his confidence in the Parliament’s vote.
PM Grindeanu: Things to unfold incredibly at PSD’s no-confidence motion
Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu claimed on Saturday in Timisoara that the people attending the no-confidence motion will witness “incredible” things.
The PM stated that he expects the motion to be filed by the Social Democratic Party (PSD) against its own Government, in a first, something that PSD leader Liviu Dragnea is responsible for, according to the PM.
The PM revealed that he is endorsed by other Social-Democratic branches in the country and underscored that all the talks he will carry out with political partners in order to impede Dragnea’s motion will be transparent.
“All the talks that I will have are to be carried out transparently. I am not hiding, to be afraid and do things behind one’s back, things that are not normal in a democracy and in a member state of the EU. Therefore, had I met [them], you would have known,” Sorin Grindeanu explained.
Furthermore, the PM mentioned that he asked for a party conference to convene and discuss issues that surfaced over the past year in the party, a period in which, as he claimed, the party was led every other two months, “by the National Executive Committee (NatExCom), “which is not a democratic way.”
“I have a history of 21 years in PSD and many years will add up, but I have never seen until now, for instance, PSD’s National Standing Bureau not being convened for a year. (…) The ExCom meetings were convened for sanctions. Moreover, it would have been normal to see, during the latest ExCom meeting, an analysis of the results of the partial elections of June 11. This analysis was not carried out, the result was swept under the rug,” Grindeanu explained.
He denied recently having meetings with Traian Basescu. “I did not. But still incumbent PSD President Liviu Dragnea may have. They are linked by a common history they have,” Sorin Grindeanu added.
Both camps engage in intense negotiations for support, UDMR seems to be the solution again
After Friday’s announcement on the reading of the motion, both camps started to jostle for support, and UDMR seems to be the solution once again.
In a simple calculus, the ruling power has at this moment 14 MPs in excesses of the number of MPs needed for the motion to pass (233 MPs). Nevertheless, ruling coalition leaders need support from other parties too, especially since the other camp announced intense negotiations with PSD MPs.
UDMR, which could once again be the key to solving a political crisis, refused to commit to either side, keeping both in check.
“We carried out an analysis of the political situation. PSD-ALDE did not manage to handle the situation. The responsibility belongs to the coalition, the Government must be one with political stripes, backed by a parliamentary majority. The ruling coalition is responsible for the unpleasant situation created, which is absolutely worthy of the Book of Records. I received a mandate to talk with all those who want to talk with us, starting on Monday, with the representatives of the Government, of the PSD-ALDE ruling coalition. We can’t decide in what concerns conflicts within PSD, we don’t want to arbitrate. We’ll take a decision on the no-confidence motion probably on Wednesday, before the vote; until then, we’ll discuss, negotiate every day. We want to see the text of the motion, our colleagues will not be tomorrow in Bucharest at the reading of the motion,” UDMR President Kelemen Hunor stated on Saturday in Cluj.
Asked whether PSD is negotiating with UDMR, Mihai Fifor stated this is the party leadership’s prerogative. Sorin Grindeanu also admitted he had some phone conversations, without giving any other details.
PMP President Traian Basescu however intervened, with a message for UDMR.
“Any parliamentary party’s involvement in this affair, an affair between the clans within PSD, will only continue to affect the quality of governance. That is why I believe UDMR should not intervene in this internal dispute. It’s fair for the skirmish between the clans within PSD to be settled strictly within PSD, even if that were to happen in Parliament,” Traian Basescu wrote on his Facebook page.
The ex-President said his party will not negotiate with PSD either. A similar attitude was expressed by the members of the Save Romania Union (USR), who announced that USR leaders would not take part in the vote on the no-confidence motion “because we consider this is circus between two gangs, more precisely between Dragnea and Grindeanu. We don’t want to intervene in this circus,” USR’s acting president Elek Levente stated.
Freshly elected PNL President, Ludovic Orban stated PNL would not take part in Sunday’s joint plenary meeting that PSD-ALDE convened for the reading of the no-confidence motion. In what concerns the vote on the motion, PNL will decide whether it will skip that too or whether PNL MPs will be present but will not cast ballots.
Thus, on Sunday morning massive absentia was expected at the reading of the motion, considering that PMP, USR and UDMR joined PNL in announcing they would not be present.
Concerning the motion’s chances of passing, it all depends on UDMR and on PSD securing the vote of its own MPs. Precisely in order to issue a message of unity, PSD announced, a day before the reading of the no-confidence motion, that all its branches adopted a joint statement in which they distanced themselves from the “coup d’état” taking place at Victoria Palace. All with the exception of two branches – the county branches from Timis and Caras-Severin –, the latter because it did not convene.
“Sorin Grindeanu and Victor Ponta do not represent the party in the attempt to take over, by force, the state’s executive power. All PSD party branches adopted today a Joint Statement in which they distance themselves from the coup d’état at the Victoria Palace. Except for two branches, the one from Timis, whose president is Sorin Grindeanu, and the one from Caras-Severin, because its leadership bodies are yet to convene to take a decision, because [party branch] president Ioan Mocioalca was not in the county,” the PSD communiqué points out.
PSD also informed that one members of the party branch that remains loyal to Grindeanu, the Timis County branch, would vote in favor of the motion.
“Matei Suciu, PSD Timis’s representative within the Lower Chamber, distances himself from Sorin Grindeanu’s illegal actions and announces he will vote in favor of the no-confidence motion, alongside his colleagues from all over the country,” PSD points out in a communiqué.
According to Suciu, “what is happening now is a coup d’état staged by a petty interest group that will be held accountable, before the law and before Romanians, for the recent putsch.”
The calculations are different in Grindeanu’s camp however, and persons close to him suggest several MPs will vote against the no-confidence motion. PSD MPs being among them.
On Saturday, the Timis and Caras-Severin branches expressed their support for the Premier, during their talks with him. While Matei Suciu announced how he will vote, five Timis County MPs and four Caras Severin County MPs are allegedly on Grindeanu’s side.
Grindeanu enjoys support in Moldavia too, according to Catalin Ivan. The MEP wrote on Facebook on Saturday that 15 PSD MPs from Moldavia would vote against the motion.
Asked about the support he enjoys within PSD, Sorin Grindeanu did not give figures but stated several party branches are on his side.
“I would like to ask that all of Parliament’s voting rules be respected, the vote should take place via secret ballots. You will see on Wednesday, or whenever the motion will be put up for vote, how things will unfold in an entirely incredible way, but for the time being I want to see PSD tabling a no-confidence motion against the PSD Government. I believe this will make history. We reached this point because of Mr Dragnea’s management,” Sorin Grindeanu said.
A signal also came from Victor Ponta, before he was appointed Secretary General of the Government (SGG). The ex-Premier stated, last Wednesday, that if a no-confidence motion is tabled he would form a group of PSD MPs who will vote against it.
In his first public appearance as head of the Government’s General Secretariat, on Friday, Victor Ponta announced once again that talks are taking place with MPs and political leaders.