Romania has a new government, the fourth consecutive one headed by Social-Democrat leader Victor Ponta.
The Romanian Parliament’s having green lighted the new cabinet on Monday came as no surprise. The coalition government, headed by Social Democrat Prime Minister Victor Ponta, is made up of the Social Democratic Party, the Union for the Progress of Romania, the Conservative Party and the Reformist Liberal Party. The latter, a centre right party, is a dissident faction of the National Liberal Party, in opposition. Victor Ponta’s new line up was passed by Parliament with 377 votes in favor and 134 against.
The new government membership was supported not only by the four parties making up the ruling alliance, but also by representatives of some parties which, in theory at least, should have shown solidarity with the opposition, such as the People’s Party - Dan Diaconescu and the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania, which has just withdrawn from power. In another move, Prime Minister Ponta said that, as far as economy was concerned, the measures contributing to a stable and predictable business environment would be kept in place. Victor Ponta:
“We want to maintain all those measures that render the private business environment stable and predictable. And I’m talking about the 16% flat tax, the tax exemption for reinvested profit, the decrease in the employers’ social security contribution and the proposal to further decrease the VAT for certain categories of farm products. 2015 will be a year with no increase in taxes and duties, but with support measures for the economic and social fields, which proves that the additional revenues obtained in Romania can be used or redistributed in a European manner.”
High on the Government’s agenda, are, according to Prime Minister Ponta, the projects related to European funds, the transport infrastructure, the judiciary, education, agriculture and the environment. In turn, the National Liberal Party, the main opposition party, says the current government coalition has failed to acknowledge its political failure at November’s presidential election, when Victor Ponta was defeated by the liberal candidate Klaus Iohannis. Liberal MP Eugen Nicolaescu:
“The government coalition as it is now has learned nothing from the vote cast by the citizens on November 16 and has failed to acknowledge the political defeat of both Victor Ponta and the government he heads. The people said no, Mister Ponta.”
However, the National Liberal Party has made no secret out of its plan to take over power, possibly in 2015, following early elections, something that pundits deem possible but rather unlikely. Pundits also say that, in the upcoming period, after Klaus Iohannis has taken office as president of Romania, the institutional relationship between the presidency and the government is worth paying attention to. In spite of having the profile of a balanced politician, Iohannis will take office after a few years of conflicting relations between the outgoing president Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Victor Ponta.