The mandates of Romania's newly elected senators and deputies have been validated, with one exception, and the two Parliament chambers have thus been lawfully established. The new centre-right majority, that also wants to form the government, has passed its first test, by managing to impose its candidates at the helm of Parliament. The former PM, Ludovic Orban, supported by the National Liberal Party (PNL), the USR-PLUS Alliance and the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), got more votes than the Social Democrat Alfred Simonis and is the new speaker of the Chamber of Deputies. Also, former minister Anca Dragu, nominated by URS-PLUS and supported by PNL and UDMR, became the first woman ever elected as speaker the Senate, after getting more votes than the Social Democrat senator Lucian Romascanu.
There is little room for suspense in terms of distribution of the leading positions. PNL and UDMR, both affiliated with the European People's Party and USR-PLUS, affiliated with the Renew Europe Group, have more MPs than PSD, affiliated with the Party of European Socialists and the Alliance for Romanians' Unity (AUR), a party that has entered Parliament for the first time and is unaffiliated with any European political family.
On December 6 a total of 466 MPs were elected, of whom 330 deputies and 136 senators, according to the Central Election Bureau. Thus, in the new Parliament, PSD has 47 senators and 110 deputies, PNL has 41 senators and 93 deputies, USR PLUS has 25 senators and 55 deputies, AUR has 14 senators and 33 deputies while UDMR has 9 senators and 21 deputies. Also, 18 MP mandates have been granted to the representatives of the national minorities, who have traditionlly been voting with the parliamentary majority.
In the next four years, the new Parliament will improve and adjust laws in the context of unprecedented challenges generated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the predictible economic and social crisis. Moreover, according to commentators, the newly elected senators and deputies should also improve the image of their own position. A recent survey shows that, in a classification of institutions that Romanians trust the most, the Church comes first, followed by the Army and the Academy, while the Government, Parliament and political parties are on the last three positions.
Party switching, nepotism, incompetence and absenteeism are often associated by the public opinion with Parliament members, making the latter's big salaries and special pensions even harder to accept. Rightists or leftists, in power or in opposition, with long or short political careers, dozens of deputies and senators were involved in criminal cases. Former Chamber of Deputies speakers, Social Democrats Adrian Nastase and Liviu Dragnea, as well as Liberal Bogdan Olteanu are such examples, all three of them being imprisoned for corruption. (Translated by Elena Enache)