President designates Ludovic Orban as PM. Split opinions on the Cabinet structure, early elections

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President Iohannis has announced today he designated Liberal chairman Ludovic Orban as the new prime minister, after a new round of consultations with PNL, USR and UDMR. A first round of talks with all the parliamentary parties, except PSD, has taken place on Monday.

The head of state said in a press statement that PNL has been the only party that assumed ruling.

Orban has 10 days to make his Cabinet that will need 233 votes in Parliament.

“PNL has been the only party that came at the consultations saying they are willing to assume the ruling during this transition period. The Government will have a short mandate till parliamentary elections, I personally consider that early elections are a very good solution, but not with Dancila government as interim,” President Iohannis stated.

I hope all the political actors understand that we are in a political crisis and the sooner we reach a satisfying solution, the better for Romania,” he added.

Iohannis pointed out that the new government must be installed as a matter of urgency in order to achieve more pending tasks- organising presidential elections, drafting the 2020 state budget, closing the 2019 budget.

“I am sure Orban Government will strive to ensure a successful transitional ruling, for this is what we all want”.

After his designation had been announced, Ludovic Orban has presented the main priorities, starting with restoring the macroeconomic balances and “correcting the economic measures that hit the business environment”.

Among other priorities announced by Orban, there also also “the ample restructuring of the government, restoring professionalism and competence, digitalisation of the administration”, but also “observing all rule of law requirements, observing human rights and liberties” and “restoring the state institutions in the service of the citizens and not of the political clientele”.

 

However, things are quite complicated as USR, UDMR, Pro Romania or ALDE, which might secure the endorsement of a new Cabinet by their votes in Parliament, have split opinions on how the next government must look like or on early elections.

PNL, which assumed the ruling and to form the Cabinet, seems to be divided over which ministers should be proposed. There are the wing represented by the incumbent leadership of the party that would like only politicians to take the minister offices, while another wing would favor more technocrats at the helm of the strategic ministries.

UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor said he could not promise to support anyone before seeing a ruling programme and the list of ministers, while UDR chairman Dan Barna insists on the early elections idea.

“We are not rejecting or promising anything to anyone before seeing the ruling programme and the list of ministers, and which are the measures the new government will take in the coming year. After we know all details we can say if we endorse something or not. We haven’t had any discussion with the ones who try to form a new government, so, at this moment we cannot promise anything,” said Kelemen Hunor.

As for USR, Dan Barna revealed he had asked for early elections being held now at today’s consultations, while President Iohannis wants to discuss about snap elections only after the presidential elections, claiming early elections cannot be organised in the past 6 months of his presidential term.

“During the consultations today, president Iohannis reconfirmed he wants early elections, but he considers the time frame of these elections must be tackled after the presidential elections, with the main argument that Dancila must be urgently replaced. Mr. Iohannis, let’s not think to the next day. If we truly want to get rid of PSD, you must have the courage to hold early elections now (…) when PSD is still weak “, Barna stated.

Moreover, amid rumours that PMP might join a PNL government, the other parties that are expected to give a confidence vote on the future government have voiced their discontent over co-opting PMP in the Cabinet.

UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor said “under no circumstances” he will vote a Cabinet that includes Traian Basescu, former President of Romania, and founder of PMP.

In his turn, ALDE chairman Calin Popescu Tariceanu had previously said “it is not negotiable to vote a government that includes Petrov, the Securitate collaborator”, referring to the recent court ruling that confirmed ex-president Basescu had collaborated with Securitate, the former Romanian political police.

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