Political leaders in Bucharest are frequently touching upon the issue of early parliamentary elections.
In 30 years of post-Communist democracy, Romania has been faced with many political and governmental crises, but none was solved through early elections, because the process is complicated and requires a lot of time. Nevertheless, at present, Romanian politicians have discussed the early elections scenario quite frequently, given that the minority Liberal government that came to power in November cannot promote its initiatives in a Parliament still dominated by the Social Democrats.
Liberal Ludovic Orban’s cabinet has managed to pass several laws by assuming responsibility for them in Parliament, including the 2020 budget, which is a first for Romania’s governments. Although legal, the procedure is debatable, because it eliminates the opportunity for debates on the draft laws proposed.
After 3 years of cohabitation with the Social Democratic government and the left wing majority, which from the very beginning was a an open political and institutional war, President Klaus Iohannis eventually got a Liberal partner at the beginning of his 2nd term in office, but realized that its powers were limited due to the lack of support. That is why he decided to get personally involved in promoting early elections.
Early elections can be held if the current government is dismissed through a no confidence motion or if the PM steps down. According to Romania’s Constitution, in both situations, Parliament needs to reject two consecutive proposals for a new government, therefore the idea is for a parliamentary majority to be formed, which should reject two consecutive cabinets.
Klaus Iohannis intends to discuss this issue with the political leaders in Bucharest: “Yes, I do want early elections. Of course, a no confidence motion is one of the options, but technically another option would be the resignation of the PM. I’m a going to discuss these issues with the PM and others.”
The PM and the leader of the National Liberal Party Ludovic Orban has reiterated that snap elections can be triggered if and only if a parliamentary majority favoring this move is set up. The interim president of the Social Democratic Party PSD, Marcel Ciolacu, said his party was not afraid of the Romanians’ vote, no matter when parliamentary elections are held. He claims the Liberal government is a disaster and the Social Democrats are seriously considering filing a motion of no confidence. A decision in this sense will be made next week at the meeting of Social Democrats’ executive committee.
Marcel Ciolacu: “This is a move asked for by the PSD members, by the society. It is obvious that one cannot govern a country by simply assuming responsibility and avoiding Parliament, one cannot try to observe electoral promises and cover up for the governing mistakes through slogans.”
Political analysts are still not persuaded by the Social Democratic leader’s rhetoric, who is trying to build a platform for the future internal elections within the PSD. The Social Democrats have not yet recovered from the electoral shocks of 2019, when they lost both the EP elections and the presidential election. A recent IMAS survey shows that if parliamentary elections were held now, the Liberals would win with 45% while the PSD would get under 20% of the votes. (translation by L. Simion)