The PM-designate Nicolae Ciucă withdrew his mandate. He said on arrival at the Liberal Party’ headquarters that “PNL would have more chances” to secure endorsement to form the next Cabinet “if it resumed negotiations.”
PNL’s Executive Bureau has also decided late on Monday that Ciuca should put his PM mandate on the table, while also agreeing to make negotiations with the parliamentary parties more flexible.
Thus, President Klaus Iohannis will again call the political parties to negotiations, and will finally appoint a prime minister again. He will have 10 days to submit to the Parliament the Government program and the list of ministers, and then the investiture vote will take place.
Nicolae Ciucă submitted his mandate prime minister-designate, as he failed to secure support for his Cabinet in the Parliament. His proposed ministers were to be heard in the committees on Tuesday, while the investiture vote was scheduled Wednesday. Liberal sources told HotNews.ro that there are PNL leaders who want to make negotiations more flexible, as well as the restoration of the coalition with USR.
The quoted sources also claim that Nicolae Ciuca will be still the PM-designate, but he will have a free hand in negotiating a government team with USR. There are also voices from PNL proposing Lucian Bode for the prime minister position.
A decision will be taken in the Executive Bureau meeting that started at 20.00, while PNL will also have the National Bureau convened on this issue and on Tuesday.
Ciuca’s move to step aside was taken considering that his Cabinet is expected to be rejected in Parliament on Wednesday, as both PSD and USR have announced they would not vote a PNL-UDMR minority government.
Ciuca relied on 120 votes from PNL and 29 from UDMR, given that he needs no less than 234. Thus, the PM-designate should have obtained 85 more votes by Wednesday. However, USR, which has 80 parliamentarians, announced that it will not vote for a government that is not part of. PSD announced that it decided, unanimously, to vote against the PNL-UDMR minority government. AUR also announced that it will not vote in favor, and the 18 votes from minorities are insufficient.
As for the independent lawmakers, there were no chances to obtain any votes from them. 13 of them are Liberal MPs who support Ludovic Orban and who left the PNL group dissatisfied with the direction in which Florin Cîțu led the party, with the support of Klaus Iohannis.
The name of Lucian Bode (the acting Interior minister) was also in the cards to take over the PM seat, as he was strongly endorsed by the “Cluj group” of PNL.
PSD willing to join ruling
PSD assumes to enter the government, Marcel Ciolacu announced on Tuesday, in the context in which the appointed prime minister Nicolae Ciucă submitted his mandate, and PNL resumes the negotiations for the formation of a majority. Basically, this decision reopens the negotiations with PSD and USR, and according to HotNews.ro sources, PSD is listed with the highest chances to enter the government. “PSD is also assuming to enter the government in this crisis. We will see in which direction things are going,” Ciolacu said on Tuesday morning.
Social Democrat sources told HotNews.ro that PSD will be a tough negotiator and that they even intend to ask for the PM seat in the future Cabinet, plus half of the portfolios and the leadership of the Chamber of Deputies. PSD would also eye a big ministry, such as the Finance, Home Affairs, Health or Labour.
Social Democrats will argue that they won the elections of 2020 and that they have the highest number of seats in Parliament (157).
At the same time, there are discussions inside PSD to propose Liberals to rearrange ministries and to supplement the number of portfolios up to 20. At present, the Government consists of PM, 2 deputy PMs and 17 ministries.
Moreover, PSD has taken the first steps in taking over the Chamber of Deputies, as its first vice-president, Sorin Grindeanu will take over the interim position of Chamber speaker, after the term of Liberal Florin Roman’s has expired. Roman was replacing Ludovic Orban, who stepped down from the seat of Chamber speaker.
Grindeanu’s became the interim speaker following a vote in the lower chamber’s Standing Bureau. Liberals abstained from voting, while USR voted against, yet Grindeanu secured the positions by the votes of PSD, UDMR, AUR and national minorities.
“I am glad Mr. Grindeanu managed to secure a majority in Parliament, to become interim speaker,” PSD chair Marcel Ciolacu said.
USR: PNL must decide, it’s us or PSD
PNL must decide quickly with whom it wants to negotiate a majority, USR chairman Dacian Ciolos told RFI on Tuesday. He underlined that USR will start negotiating only when it is clear that PNL really wants to restore the coalition with USR.
Ciolos said that, in his view, PNL has not decided yet if it intends to go on with PSD or with USR, which are two different things. “The Social Democrats’s <appetite> for reforms is well-known,” USR chair said.
USR remains open to the idea of restoring the coalition with PNL, considering it “the better and the most logical solution for Romanians, but it waits for PNL to decide if they want to go on with USR or with PSD“, also said USR spokesperson, Ionuț Moșteanu.
“We must kick off approaches to restore the coalition as soon as possible. Reforms are needed and a right- center wing coalition would be the warrant of these reforms,” added Moșteanu.
The USR spokesperson mentioned that there has been no discussion so far on USR returning in the ruling coalition, as Nicolae Ciucă asked for USR’s endorsement for a minority gov’t. “PNL did not want negotiations”, he argued.