The results of the December 6 general election make it difficult for a new government to be formed quickly. The only landslide win—over two-thirds of the eligible voters, a record for over 3 decades of post-communist democracy—was that of non-voters.
The share of each of the 5 parties that have made it into the new parliament requires complex negotiations if a functioning majority is to be created. After the first talks with political party leaders, president Klaus Iohannis admitted that such a majority has not been reached as yet:
Klaus Iohannis: “This first round of consultations occasioned a good exchange of views between the representatives of these parties and myself, but I can say that the conditions are not yet met for appointing a candidate in a position to form a new government.”
The National Liberal Party, the USR PLUS Alliance and the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians promise to carry on negotiations. The 3 have a combined 244 seats in Parliament, out of the total 465.
The Liberals (affiliated with the EPP) and USR PLUS (Renew Europe) have come up with separate proposals for a new PM: the incumbent finance minister Florin Câţu, and the former PM Dacian Cioloş, respectively. They also disagree over a new speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, a key element in the constitutional architecture in that it filters around 80% of Romania’s proposed legislation.
Here is the Liberal leader, Ludovic Orban, who recently stepped down as PM:
Ludovic Orban: “We will carry on talks and will try to find what brings us together, what can be supported by all the political parties involved in this negotiation, and obviously what we believe is right for Romania.”
And the co-president of the USR-PLUS Alliance, Dan Barna:
Dan Barna: “This is a real chance for Romania to have a stable and balanced centre-right majority, with the potential to govern Romania for 4 years and to achieve the reforms that are so important for the country.”
A constant presence in Romania’s coalition governments, be they right or left of centre, the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians, represented by their president Kelemen Hunor, says the only formula able to ensure stability is a coalition with the Liberals and USR PLUS.
For the time being, the relative winner of the vote, the Social Democratic Party, is isolated in the new parliament. Its leader Marcel Ciolacu pleads for a national unity government:
Marcel Ciolacu: “We insisted that Romania is going through a difficult period and we cannot afford a fragile parliamentary majority. A national unity government is the best solution at this time.”
A new-comer to parliament, the nationalist AUR party, represented by co-president George Simion, says that all they seek in a broad coalition government would be the education ministry.
In an interview to Radio Romania, political scientist Andrei Ţăranu warns that negotiations must not take too long, because the country needs a government to manage the anti-COVID vaccination campaign and to draft the state budget for next year. (translated by: A.M. Popescu)