RMDSZ will withdraw support from government for its changing the electoral law

The Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) will support a vote of no confidence against the current liberal (PNL) government of Prime Minister Ludovic Orban after it forced a unilateral change to turn municipal elections to a two-round system instead of the current single round system, RMDSZ said in a statement. The rash move by the Ludovic Government was widely regarded as a tactical maneuver to trigger early elections.

“The government has today announced that it will change the law on municipal elections by introducing two-round mayoral elections. RMDSZ’s position on this has always been clear: rules shouldn’t be changed during the game. Before the government of Ludovic Orban took office, we made it clear that we will only support it if they don’t change the electoral law by either emergency decree or on their own responsibility. The Alliance will support the motion of no confidence,” the statement said.

Last October, the social democrat (PSD) government led by prime minister Viorica Dăncilă was ousted by a vote of no confidence in parliament, at the time supported by the RMDSZ, who subsequently gave its conditional support to the Orban Government, which is in minority in the current parliament.

When the Liberals – supported by President Klaus Iohannis – first floated the idea of two-round municipal elections in an attempt to weaken the Social Democrats, RMDSZ made it clear that it won’t support the change as they stand to lose as much as one fifth of their mayors under the changed conditions.

Attila Korodi, RMDSZ group leader in the Romanian Parliament’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, said after the government’s move they had no choice but to support the motion of no confidence that the Social Democrats plan to introduce. According to the constitution, if a government changes legislation without the approval of parliament on its own recognizance, it can be subjected to a motion of no confidence. If  successful, this would result in early legislative elections – which was the liberals’ intention anyway.

Last week, Orban announced that he agreed with Iohannis to hold early legislative elections, near or at the same as the municipal elections scheduled for June.

Korodi also said that in RMDSZ’s view changing the system of the municipal elections less than a year before a vote is unconstitutional and that the government is well aware of that.

“[B]ut this is a political decision with a significant amount of populism, and the PNL thinks it should be someone else who figures it out with the Constitutional Court.”

RMDSZ has nine of the 136 seats in senate and 21 of the 329 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, and it often has the power to tip the balance.

Since 2012, Romania has experienced a period of political instability, having had nince consecutive governments.

Title image: Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban

Author: Dénes Albert