Exit of junior partner leaves Romanian government in crisis

The departure of junior coalition partner ALDE has left the Socialist (PSD) Romanian government in a minority and according to the constitution Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă will have to call a vote of confidence within 45 days, Romanian media reports.

The crisis was triggered by the announcement of  Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) that he asked all four cabinet members of his party to resign. Three of the four obeyed the party president, but Ramona Mănescu, appointed Foreign Minister just over a month ago said she would remain in the cabinet and face the consequences.

“I am certain that it will be so (i.e. she will be expelled from ALDE). I will clearly not join the PSD, but I will continue to serve as foreign minister and I think that should be enough”,  Mănescu told journalists.

Dăncilă, who has been at the helm of the beleaguered PSD-ALDE government since January 2018 said her party will continue to govern in minority.

The decision of ALDE is part of the jostling for positions ahead of the November presidential elections. Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu said ALDE was leaving the coalition in order to form an alliance with the social-liberal Pro Romania party to support the presidential candidacy of actor Mircea Diaconu, who was also a senator in the upper chamber of the Romanian parliament and a member of the European Parliament in the cycle that ended in 2019.

ALDE’s departure left the PSD with only 136 MPs in of the lower chamber’s 329.

Hunor Kelemen, President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) said his party will not join a minority PSD government and will vote against it in a motion of no confidence, but only if the motion is backed by a parliamentary majority and a government program of the only possible challenger, the National Liberal Party (PNL). RMDSZ withdrew its support of the PSD-ALDE coalition government in May, after the Úz valley scandal.

Title image: The Romanian government before break-up with junior coalition partner ALDE (source: guv.ro)

Author: Dénes Albert