The censure motion against the Tudose Cabinet, filed by the National Liberal Party (PNL) and endorsed by the Save Romania Union (USR) was vetoed on Thursday. Official data revealed that 159 MPs had voted the motion and three had vetoed it.
PSD, ALDE and UDMR announced they would abstain from voting, so the motion hasn’t got too many chances to pass in the first place, as 233 votes are needed for that.
PSD senators and deputies answered: “Present, but not voting” when they were asked to say how they will vote the motion.
The motion was hastily debated in the Parliament’s plenary sitting, with debates ending earlier than scheduled. The Opposition wants the Tudose Cabinet stripped of political endorsement and also asked for the abrogation of the emergency ordinance amending the tax code, claiming it has stirred “a fiscal chaos”. The Liberals also staged a human chain protest in front of the Parliament during the motion’s vote.
PM Mihai Tudose addressed the plenary session, telling the Liberals after debates that “unfortunately for them and fortunately for Romania, they will stay away from the ruling a long period of time”.
New GEO for the IT employees
Tudose said that the only real problem in the Liberals’ motion of censure refers to the employees in the IT sector. Tudose announced that the Executive would adopt an emergency ordinance next week, so that no salary in the IT sectors would decrease.
“For the IT employees we’ll adopt an ordinance to balance things, so that no employee in the IT field should not have his incomes down,” the premier told the MPs, stressing that the IT sector will be a strategic priority for Romania. “We want to support this sector, we’ll do the same with the incomes for the disabled people,” Tudose added.
As for the Liberals’ rebukes on the education system, the PM said that 2017 has been the first year in the many past ones when pupils had got their school books in due time. “Pupils haven’t learnt anymore from cribs, like during your time. The schoolbook for the fifth grade is for you, we give it to you personally. If it’s where you stand, it’s Ok. Secondly, we concluded 46 kindergartens, 24 schools…,” Tudose ironically commented.
At the beginning of his speech, the prime minister had said that PNL is standing in a different reality from what the Executive had done, talking about a chaos “that doesn’t exist”.
“A censure motion is a constitutional right and a democratic exercise. Unfortunately you turned this legitimate right into an opportunity to be populist, demagogue and to stage a show based on a script which is completely out of touch with reality,” Tudose told the initiators of the motion.
The speakers of the two chambers, Liviu Dragnea and Calin Popescu Tariceanu haven’t presided the plenary sitting, but they entered the hall during the PM’s speech and sat in the first lines. However, they left shortly after to attend a debate about the pensioners’ problems.
More Social Democrat lawmakers have also left the plenary room before debates of the motion had started. Local media reported that there were only 70 PSD and ALDE MPs left to provide the quorum necessary for the no confidence vote.
PNL nicknames Tudose “the parallel premier”
In retort, the leader of the PNL senators, Iulian Dumitrescu, has stated that Mihai Tudose would deserve the nickname of “the parallel premier”, arguing that the “dragon” called “the parallel state” had been invented to justify “the Government’s failures”.
Dumitrescu asked Tudose if the GEO on amending the Tax Code had been drafted by the Government members or if he had received it in an envelope from “the so-called representatives if the parallel and illegitimate state”. “(…) If you don’t take responsibilities and don’t do things and you just blame others and talk out of your hat, then you’d deserve the nickname of parallel premier, meaning you must let someone else in your place who knows and can manage the country’s affairs,” the Liberal senator pointed out.
Human chain protest
At the same time with the debates on the motion, the Liberals have also staged a human chain protest around the Parliament’s building, inviting all those who are discontent with the Tudose Cabinet’s economic policies and with the upcoming amendments on the justice laws to join the manifestation. PNL chairman Ludovic Orban and other Liberal leaders were in the crowd. Drivers passing by the Parliament at that moment used to give a blast as a sign of solidarity.
Protesters carried placards reading: “Justice, not corruption”, “Dragnea, DNA is waiting for you”, “Dragnea, don’t forget, the country is not your estate”, etc.
Ex-president Basescu proposed “the new PM”
Former president Traian Basescu had stated during the debates that he is sure the motion would pass and that’s why he will propose MEP Siegfried Muresan as the next premier. Muresan is vice-president of the Budget committee in the European Parliament.