On Thursday, President Klaus Iohannis invited the leaders of the parliamentary parties and formations to Cotroceni Palace for consultations in order to pick a candidate for the position of prime minister, as the Orban Government was dismissed on Wednesday in a vote of no confidence. After the consultations, Iohannis announced that he will entrust the ex-prime minister and leader of the National Liberal Party, Ludovic Orban, with the task of forming a new government.
“After consulting all the parties and parliamentary formations, I designate Mr. Ludovic Orban to form a new Government,” announced President Iohannis at Cotroceni Palace.
He explained that Romania has a liberal government with a reform agenda, but on the other hand, the country has the Social Democratic Party, with many lawmakers who aim to stop these reforms.
“The right solution then is to go back to the voters; it is the solution that will satisfy Romania’s need for democracy,” he added, underlining that early elections are his first option.
According to Iohannis, during the consultations, some parties agreed with snap elections, while others asked for more time to consult their party members. “Until then, we are taking a very concrete step of nominating, from my point of view, a very dedicated person, to form the new government.”
Kelemen Hunor, chairman of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania, also known by its Hungarian acronym of RMDSZ, said that the Alliance did not present a candidate for the position of prime minister and will not support the Social Democratic Party (PSD) candidate either. Kelemen made the comments on Thursday, after the consultations at Cotroceni Palace.
Kelemen stated that the RMDSZ lawmakers voted for the motion of no-confidence only to stop the change to the electoral laws regarding the mayoral elections. With their votes, they did not support any other political project, he pointed out.
Kelemen also noted that he told Iohannis they still support early elections, but not in the way the PNL proposed, as their way is unconstitutional.
He added that if the emergency government decree amending the electoral system were to be published in the Official Journal, the People’s Advocate must attack the decision in the Constitutional Court.
According to the chairman of the RMDSZ, it would be unconstitutional to hold early elections on the same day as the municipal elections. He thinks that early elections should be held after July 5.
After consultations on Thursday with President Iohannis at the Cotroceni Palace, Ludovic Orban – leader of the National Liberal Party (PNL), newly dismissed prime minister and newly appointed PM candidate – announced that he had presented to Iohannis the PNL’s decision to support the requirements for early elections being met. He also presented his party’s pick for the new prime minister: himself.
“Our pick for prime minister is in accordance with the decision of the National Council, and it is the party chairman, namely me, Ludovic Orban. I also presented to the president the decision of the National Liberal Party to support the conditions being met for early elections to be triggered,” Orban said.
He said that the objective of his party is to make early elections possible and to contribute to meeting the constitutional requirements that will allow the head of state to dissolve the current parliament. He added, early elections are necessary to ensure a fair representation in parliament of the current opinions of the voters.
“Romania needs a parliament to be an exact mirror of the current opinions of Romanian citizens and able to establish a stable majority, to support a government that will implement the measures of reform, modernization and development of Romania at the fastest rate,” he added.
He also said that he presented to Iohannis another decision made by the PNL National Council, that the PNL lawmakers should participate in the voting procedures for the new government. But they won’t vote in order to allow the dissolution of Parliament, so early elections will be organized.
According to Toni Neacșu, a former member of the Supreme Judicial Council (CSM), Iohannis cannot appoint Ludovic Orban as prime minister again because that would be unconstitutional. If he does, the Constitutional Court will certainly react, he added.
A 2014 ruling of the Constitutional Court describes the role of the president in the appointment of the new prime minister. According to this, the president can only act as mediator or arbiter in the process and only has the power to give the right to form a new government to the candidate of the party or a coalition with a majority in parliament. If there is none, he can then nominate the candidate which has the largest support in parliament.
Social Democratic Party (PSD) interim leader Marcel Ciolacu announced that their proposal for prime minister is Remus Pricopie.
“We came with the same proposal that you already know, namely Mr. Remus Pricopie for prime minister. The decision belongs now to the president, it depends on him how long – a shorter or a longer period – this governmental and political crisis will last,” Ciolacu said.
He added that the PSD thinks that the parliament’s approval of the motion of no-confidence was a success; this success stopped the Orban-government from changing the electoral law. “The PSD only did its duty and protected democracy by preventing the change to the electoral law so shortly before the elections,” he said,
He also expressed doubts about the legitimacy of Ludovic Orban’s prime ministerial nomination. He said if Iohannis appoints the ex-PM to form the new government, they will seek an expert’s opinion before the voting on the new government. However, he also mentioned in a telephone interview with Digi 24 that early elections have not been “ruled out.”
The Save Romania Union (USR) chairman, Dan Barna, also met with President Klaus Iohannis. At the meeting, he underlined the importance of early elections.
“I told the president about the USR position, a stance declared for two years now: Early elections are the moral, ethical, correct and necessary solution for Romania right now. Unfortunately, any other scenario would only continue what has happened in the past three months, to have a government that in fact cannot govern,” he said.
Barna also underlined that the USR won’t vote on any new government, in order to trigger early elections. He said that he and the president discussed a possible scenario for the case in which there would be no early elections. In this case, the USR would be involved in the new government in order to make sure that the change to the mayoral election law takes place.
Barna said that USR had appointed Dacian Cioloş as candidate for prime minister.
Title image: Ludovic Orban, newly appointed PM candidate, and President Klaus Iohannis. Photo: Digi24