The Social Democratic Party (PSD), which is the largest party in the Romanian government and has also been part of the opposition since last fall, will not attend the joint session of the Romanian Parliament for voting in the old/new Government of Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, the Executive Committee of PSD decided on Wednesday. Before voting, the PSD will wait for the decision of the Constitutional Court regarding the constitutional conflict between President Klaus Iohannis and the Parliament on the matter of the designation of PNL leader Ludovic Orban as Prime Minister once again. The vote of confidence in the new government, as well as the debate of the Constitutional Court, is scheduled to take place on Monday, February 24.
Before voting, the MPs of the PSD would like to know if Klaus Iohannis, who supports early elections, was acting in accordance with the Constitution when he appointed Ludovic Orban as Prime Minister once again.
PSD Chairman Marcel Ciolacu also said that it was unconstitutional that the center-right government modified the electoral system by way of emergency decrees and without Parliamentary debate. The PSD is waiting for the decision of the Constitutional Court in this case as well; after that ruling, they will initiate a Parliamentary debate on the amendment of the electoral law.
According to PSD, the Constitution only allows early Parliamentary elections when such elections serve as a solution to an insurmountable political crisis. They also point out that the behavior of President Klaus Iohannis in deliberately causing a crisis in order to dismiss the Parliament and trigger early elections offends the spirit of the Basic Law. Ciolacu believes that the President should not appoint someone to form a new government in the hope of said candidate failing a vote of confidence. President Klaus Iohannis and PM Ludovic Orban agreed in January to trigger early elections instead of waiting for the normal elections that are scheduled to take place in November or December.
The prime minister candidate, PNL Chairman Ludovic Orban, did not conceal that he is hoping that his old/new government will be rejected on Monday at the joint session. They hope to be rejected because the President can dismiss the Parliament only if two consecutive attempts to form a government fail within 60 days. There is no chance that the cabinet of Orban, which was dismissed in February via a vote of no confidence, would be accepted by the Parliament. However, if the PSD and its allies boycott the vote long enough, they could stop early elections from being triggered.
The joint session of the two houses of the Romanian Parliament has a quorum only in the presence of more than half of the legislators, meaning more than 233 Deputies and Senators. The same qualified majority is necessary to replace a government or vote for a new one. The PSD alone has 203 legislators.
According to Romanian news channels, the PSD agreed on the boycott with its allies, the Pro Romania party led by Victor Ponta and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, which both supported the PSD’s vote of no confidence as well. Thus, it is very likely that the Parliament will not have a quorum on Monday and that the vote of confidence in the new government will be postponed.
Title image: The President can dismiss the Parliament only if two consecutive attempts to form a government fail within 60 days. Photo: Facebook/Parlamentul Romaniei