Parliament speakers request briefing from Prime Minister on measures to contain spread of Covid-19.
"Words are not enough!",
posted the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Marcel Ciolacu on his Facebook
page. Ciolacu, who is also the interim president of the Social Democratic Party,
the main opposition party in Romania, says the minority Liberal government has
completely lost control of the crisis generated by the coronavirus outbreak and
has entered election campaign mode before convincing Romanian voters that the local
elections due on 27th September can be held safely. Ciolacu also
says the government is more concerned about forging electoral alliances than with
working with the people to overcome the peak of the pandemic.
Invoking the lack of predictability
of government policies, the cabinet ministers' contradictory statements with
respect to the measures to limit the economic and social impact of the current
health crisis and the feeling of uncertainty in people's lives, Ciolacu and his
Social Democratic Party colleague and interim Senate speaker Robert Cazanciuc have
sent prime minister Ludovic Orban a letter asking him to present Parliament with
a report detailing the measures taken by the government to contain the spread
of the novel coronavirus for schools to be able to reopen as usual in mid-September
and for the local elections to be held under best conditions later that month. Some
cabinet members said earlier that a number of scenarios were being considered
with respect to the reopening of schools and that it was too early to speak
about postponing the local elections.
This is a busy electoral
year, in fact, with parliamentary elections also due to be held, and their date
is yet to be established. Parliament passed legislation saying the date of the parliamentary
elections is to be set by Parliament at least 60 days before elections, and not
by the government as has been the case so far.
The Social Democratic deputy
speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Florin Iordache:
"Given that 2020 is a delicate
year from a health, social and economic standpoint, the date [of parliamentary
elections] should be set by the parliamentary majority. I think this is far
better that letting a single entity decide it by government order."
The leader of the National
Liberal Party group in the Senate Daniel Fenechiu disagrees:
"The government is perfectly
capable of meeting the challenges of the times we're living through. All you
care about, however, is flexing your muscles in Parliament, where you have a majority."
The Social Democratic Party, the Alliance of Liberals
and Democrats and the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania also
want to halve the number of minimum number of signatures required to become a
candidate and for the collection and submission of candidacies to take place online.
If this bill passes, it will next go to the president of the country to be
signed into law. (CM)