The Social Democrat Prime Minister Victor Ponta will have the new government structure ready by the end of the week and will submit it to Parliament for approval on Monday, December 15.
The victory against the left wing in November’s presidential election has not whetted the Liberals’ appetite for taking helm of the government as political pundits may have expected. The National Liberal Party has given the country the new president, Klaus Iohannis, but it does not plan, at least for the time being, to oust the Social Democratic Party and its allies from power. However, changes will be made in the Romanian government’s membership, as the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) has decided to join the opposition as a result of the Hungarian electorate’s clear option for Klaus Iohannis. Even so, the UDMR leader, Kelemen Hunor, has promised to back the new government.
Kelemen Hunor: “I am sure that, at this point, this government should be given credit. We don’t know its membership yet, what ministers and what parties will make up the new structure, but in principle we have no reason not to support the 4th Ponta Government. The UDMR will not be a part of this new government. “
Kelemen Hunor has also said that his party will join the opposition, but it will vote for the projects that are important to Romania, such as those related to economy, jobs and the rule of law. The 4th Ponta Government will not include the UDMR, but the long time allies of the Social Democrats, the National Union for the Progress of Romania and the Conservative Party, which jointly fought this year’s electoral battles, that is the European and the presidential election, will be part of it. The Liberal Reformist Party, a dissident faction formed around the Senate speaker, former PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu, will also be part of the new government.
According to Tariceanu, the Liberal Reformist Party, which is not a legal entity yet but whose votes the fate of the government majority depends on, will not be a substitute for the UDMR, that previously provided the culture and environment ministers, but will more likely get ministerial offices in the economic and financial sectors. Negotiations over portfolios and a government program valid until 2016, the year when legislative elections will be held, are under way.
According to the Prime Minister, the priorities of the 4th Ponta Government include the revision of the Constitution, the Electoral Code, decentralisation and administrative and territorial organisation. In spite of negative forecasts after the presidential election, there are big chances for the Social Democratic Party to stay in power with Victor Ponta at the helm. That offers Ponta time to catch his breath, something that in the first days after he had lost the election was highly unlikely.