Correspondent in Berlin
The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, this morning invited all the political parties represented in the Romanian Parliament to celebrate consultations on the formation of a new government starting next week, after Florin Citu’s center-right cabinet yesterday lost the vote on the vote of no confidence. “In order to give the parties time to meet in their internal forums, find a mature approach and reach out to it during consultations, I will convene talks next week,” the president informed in a televised address to the nation. “We must find a solution, Romania must be governed. The pandemic, the electricity price crisis, winter is coming… All of this must be handled by someone. This someone, obviously, is the government, ”Iohannis harangued.
Constitutional procedure dictates that, after consultations, the president will propose a new prime minister, who will then have to win a vote of confidence in Parliament. If Parliament refuses on two consecutive votes to endorse the candidate, the head of state can dissolve parliament and call early elections. Meanwhile, Citu’s cabinet will act as the acting government.
The motion of no confidence was requested by the opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) and endorsed by former partner of the ruling coalition USR PLUS and by the far-right Alliance Union of Romanians (AUR). Of the 318 deputies present, 281 supported the motion. The Liberals in Power (PNL) boycotted the vote and denounced an “irresponsible” action on the part of the three formations. “What are they going to gain by plunging the country into chaos?” The prime minister reproached at the beginning of the parliamentary session.
In the current configuration of the Romanian Parliament, PNL and USR PLUS have 134 and 80 seats respectively, PSD has 157, AUR controls 43, while the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) has 29. The remaining seats are held by 18 deputies that represent minorities and the remaining 5 belong to independent deputies.
The PSD presented the motion of censure on September 28, following a decision of the Constitutional Court that recognized the existence of a legal conflict between Parliament and the government over a previous motion previously filed against the same government by USR PLUS and AUR, after Citu removed Justice Minister Stelian Ion. Four days later, the five USR PLUS ministers in Citu’s coalition cabinet, which also included UDMR representatives, resigned and left a minority government after their departure.
Call early elections
Despite the fact that in recent weeks relations between the two formations have been very tense, the USR has declared itself open to re-forming an alliance with Citu’s party, as long as the latter is not in charge of the future government. However, according to several voices of the liberals, the president plans to renew Florin Citu in office, which could lead to early elections. “Florin Citu is our choice in the short, medium and long term,” Rares Bogdan MEP, close to President Iohannis, said on Sunday. The PSD, which lead in pollsIt is the only party that wants legislative elections to be called and has advanced that it will not support any prime minister from the Liberals.
This new political crisis coincides with a rebound in Covid-19 cases in the country, and several doctors affirmed that “war conditions” are being experienced in hospitals. Yesterday there were more than 15,000 new cases and 252 deaths in 24 hours, record figures since the start of the pandemic, which has caused nearly 38,000 deaths in Romania to date. Only a third of the 19 million Romanians are vaccinated. But the coronavirus is not the main concern of the population, according to surveys, which indicate corruption, unemployment and debt ahead.
Following the crisis caused by the pandemic restrictions, Romania’s economy is growing faster than any other in Europe thanks to the boom in its technology sector and the versatility of its companies. According to Eurostat data, the Romanian economy grew by 2.8% in the first quarter of the year, the highest rate in the entire EU, despite chronic debt and deficit problems. Last June, the international consulting firm Deloitte calculated the evolution of all the world’s economies since the pandemic began and pointed out that China, Chile, Australia, Romania, Lithuania and South Korea were the only ones that had grown between the last quarter of 2019. , the last in which the pandemic did not affect the economy, and the first quarter of 2021. The international press refers to this phenomenon like the “Romanian miracle”. Emeritus Professor of Monetary Economics, Silviu Cerna, explains that, although they have worsened with the pandemic, Romania’s vulnerabilities are “structural problems” of the economy and were aggravated by the increases in public salaries and pensions of the previous Social Democratic Government (2017 -2019). “This government was undertaking necessary reforms that the parties that support it promised in the campaign and that now remain in the air again,” says Cerna about the center-right Romanian Executive.