A month since the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats left the ruling coalition it had with the Social Democratic Party, the Opposition is keeping its promise to ask Parliament for a vote of no-confidence against the Dancila Cabinet. The Liberals, who initiated the motion entitled “In order to rebuild Romania, the Dancila Government must be dismissed immediately!,” gathered 237 signatures, 4 more than the number of votes required in order for the document to pass.
MPs across the political spectrum have signed the motion, from Liberals to Save Romania Union, from Pro Romania to the People’s Movement Party and to ALDE. The list of signatories even includes representatives of the ethnic minorities, who usually side with the Government, and even members of the ruling Social Democratic Party. The president of the National Liberal Party, Ludovic Orban, explained why this government must go:
Ludovic Orban: “What we have now is not really a Cabinet, but rather the leftovers of a government, lacking the capacity, the authority and the competence to handle the serious challenges that Romania is faced with.”
On the other side, the Social Democrats voice confidence that the motion will not pass in Parliament, because it fails to bring a governing programme and a PM nomination, so they say they are determined to halt the Opposition’s efforts. Viorica Dancila warned her fellow party members against defecting:
Viorica Dancila: “Those who will vote in favour of the motion will betray the Social Democratic Party, the hopes of the mayors who want to implement their projects, the stability of the country, and I believe this is not something to be condoned.”
It is a delicate moment for the Social Democrats’ minority government, which has lasted this long after the Liberal Democrats left only due to the hesitations of the Opposition. The National Liberal Party has gone to great lengths to get so many signatures because in their previous, failed attempts at bringing down the government, they had relied on the word of various MPs who had promised to vote in favour of the motion but didn’t. There is still room for surprises, but, as political observers note, there is no better time to dismiss the Dancila Government than the present.
As for what will happen after, no one can tell. Things are further complicated by the forthcoming presidential elections, due on November 10th and 24th. The main opposition parties, the Liberals and Save Romania Union, favour the early election scenario, and say they are ready to take over power based on people’s votes. But Romania never had snap parliamentary elections in 3 decades of post-communist democracy.
There is also the option of a cabinet of technocrats, with political support, until next autumn’s legislative election. In this respect, Romania does have a precedent. In the fall of 2015, also a year ahead of the regularly scheduled election, the Social Democrat PM Victor Ponta stepped down to be replaced by Dacian Ciolos.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)