As president elect of the PSD, Ciolacu has started off on the wrong foot: the failure of the vote of no-confidence

English Section / 01 septembrie 2020

As president elect of the PSD, Ciolacu has started off on the wrong foot: the failure of the vote of no-confidence

The Orban government will remain in Victoria Palace. The plenum of the Parliament did not debate and vote on the motion of no-confidence yesterday, because of the failure to meet the required quorum. The action of the social-democrats began just as it started - insignificantly. Whereas the PSD MPs have needed more than a month of extraordinary session to raise the signatures needed for submitting the vote of no-confidence, after another month of extraordinary session they were incapable of meeting the session quorum needed for its debating and vote.

After a one hour suspension of yesterday's plenum session and after another 70 minutes of nominal call, was confirmed what was clear to the naked eye - the lack of quorum. 226 MPs were present in the room, out of the 233 require for the session to be held. Social-democrats had both two senators missing, as well as three deputies, and aside from that, also absent were Marian Cucşa - ALDE and Bota Marius from the Republican Party, both, parties whose leaders announced they would vote in favor of the motion of no-confidence. The PSD MPs who were not present were Cătălin Rădulescu, Carmen Dan, Adrian Todor, Dan Ciocan and Roxana Paţurcă.

Immediately after the failure to ensure the quorum of the plenary session, the social-democratic leader Marcel Ciolacu, president of the Chamber of Deputies, said that the debate and the motion couldn't be postponed because they were not on the agenda.

The PSD president said: "The PSD does not have 233 votes. We have tried to create a majority. The quorum has not been met. The motion has not been voted. We will definitely make a political decision and we are going to announce it. Within two days we will have a meeting of the National Political Council. There are talks because we have entered an ordinary session. We have the right to submit a motion or to vote on this motion".

Speaking about the social-democrat MPs who did not attend yesterday's session, Marcel Ciolacu said: "Which colleagues? The ones who were sick? Mr. Todor, Mr. Rădulescu and Mrs. Carmen Dan. If we're going to force things like that, I will propose to the National Political Committee to exclude the three. None of them is sick".

PM Ludovic Orban said: "I will repeat what I've been saying this motion of no-confidence was announced out of the blue. It is a motion of no-confidence outside the constitutional framework. In 30 years, nobody has submitted a motion during the parliamentary holidays. The motion of no-confidence initiated by the PSD was submitted in an extraordinary session, read in another extraordinary session, its debating and the vote on it was tried in the extended session and it is currently over. The government has notified the Constitutional Court and we are waiting the promotion based on our notification.

What has happened today is extremely beneficial for Romania. The government has to deal with medium and long term consequences and it needs to be able to operate unimpeded in order to implement the approved measures. Even if all the PSD MPs had been present, the social-democrats still wouldn't have had the necessary number of votes for the vote of no-confidence to pass. 226 MPs were present and five were missing from the PSD. That means 231, in other words fewer than the necessary number of votes (ed. note: - 233) for the passing of the motion of no-confidence and the fall of the government".

Klaus Iohannis' unprecedented message

President Klaus Iohannis also contributed to the failure of the motion, In a press release issued yesterday at noon, he asked MPs not to become accomplices to the irresponsible action of the PSD, which simply wants the overlap of a political crisis over the current economic and health crisis.

Klaus Iohannis said: "The PSD isn't fighting for the citizens' welfare and health, but to grab power at any price. The cynicism with which this party -which is totally removed from Romanians' interest pursues its goal to get access to the public resources again clearly demonstrate that the PSD is fundamentally corrupt by the desire for power and it can't be reformed, regardless of who leads it".

The message sent by the country's president is unusual, given that, on the occasion of the motion of February 4th, 2020, when the first Orban government was dismissed, Klaus Iohannis didn't have a reaction like the one he had yesterday.

In relation to the absence of the five PSD MPs, Carmen Dan announced yesterday morning, on Facebook that she would not attend the joint meeting for the vote on the motion of no-confidence, because she was under isolation after her mother was confirmed positive with coronavirus. Deputy Adrian Todor is under self-isolation, after he was in direct contact with a person confirmed with coronavirus, and Cătălin Rădulescu is hospitalized.

First vice-president of the PSD, Sorin Grindeanu mellowed his statement made that all those who missed the vote without justification would be excluded from the party, but the decision will be made by the executive of the party, with each case to be reviewed individually.

The PSD waives the motion that was not debated

Alfred Simonis, leader of the PSD deputies, said that through the absence of some colleagues, things have come to light and that the social-democrats have found the traitors in the party.

"In the end, today was proven - what I've been saying for a long time - that the PSD does not have the majority in the Parliament, like the government claims. On one hand they claim to be a minority government, on the other hand, today they had the majority. I think that discussing a new motion of no-confidence is far too early and what is going to happen in the coming period will be crucial in deciding whether to submit a new vote of no-confidence. The ordinary session will begin tomorrow (ed. note: - today) and I do not find it opportune for this motion of no-confidence submitted in an extraordinary session to be debated and voted on in a different session. I think that at this point in time, a discussion concerning the continuation of the approach initiated during the extraordinary session is not opportune", Alfred Simonis said.

Outside the five MPs from the PSD and the two from ALDE and PR, the motion was boycotted by the MPs of the PNL, USR, PMP, UDMR, the 17 deputies of the minorities and by unaffiliated MPs.

Victor Ponta, the president of Pro România and the leader of the parliamentary group Pro Europa, announced even before the plenum that the motion would fail.

"We have all been here, we are all 24 of us present, we have brought in the votes that the PSD am couldn't provide and we will vote in support of the motion, but given they seem to get sick one after another, every 30 minutes, I am concerned. We did not vote for this government. PSD has removed its own governments before. This is a government put in place by the PSD. They should come in and take it out", Ponta said prior to the beginning of yesterday's joint meeting.

When asked about the vote count, Ponta said: "Normally there were 241 votes, but every hour another PSD MP disappears. At this rate, by tonight only half of the Parliament will still be present".

Immediately after the insufficient quorum was ascertained, Victor Ponta reacted on his official Facebook page: "The 24 senators and deputies of Pro România were all present in the Parliament. Unfortunately, the other MPs have made a mockery of their legal obligation of coming in to work and voting, which is a show of contempt towards voters. I am proud of my colleagues in Pro România who did not allow themselves to be bribe and did not participate in this shameful political au participat la acest blat politic ruşinos".

The other ally of the PSD, ALDE president Călin Popescu Tăriceanu, said: "The most ridiculous government that we have ever had will remain in the Victoria Palace through fraud and lies. Over these last few days, the PNL has put into motion all of the government's financial resources to bribge MPs in order to remain in power. They have succeeded in fooling a large enough number of them enough to postpone the removal of the government. (...) Today is not a victory for the PNL and Klaus Iohannis, but a defeat for the Romanians who deserved to escape an incompetent government and which should have been in the prosecutors' office, rather than in the Victoria Palace".

Dan Barna: "We have avoided a political crisis"

USR leader deputy Dan Barna claims that a political crisis was avoided yesterday. "The Romanian parliament wasted a whole day for an irresponsible PSD to get convinced that its motion of no-condidence is ridiculous and wouldn't pass. We could spent that day better by discussing things that are useful for this country's citizens: reducing labor taxes, raising sentences for corruption during the state of emergency and alert, increasing funding for family medicine, the organizing of the local election this year over two days. Last but not least, we could have talked about the elimination of special pensions for local officials. That money needs to reach those that truly need it. Today in the Parliament we have avoided a political crisis. All of the country's other problems remain".

Following the failure to gather the necessary quorum, the motion of no-confidence initiated by the PSD can no longer be voted on in another sitting, because the extraordinary session of the Parliament ended yesterday, and only one motion may be submitted per session.

Swords are rattling in the PSD. Outside the stormy meeting of the National Political Council which will take place tomorrow, there are some regional leaders who are pleased with Marcel Ciolacu's misstep. They are waiting for a similar failure - the loss of the local elections by the PSD - to take him to task and remove him from his position, if not before the parliamentary elections, immediately after the vote which ought to be held in the beginning of December. Those include Dumitru Buzatu, the leader of the county organization of Vaslui who, in the Extraordinary Congress of the Social-Democrats held on August 22nd, warned Marcel Ciolacu that he has to win the local and parliamentary elections.

"If you manage to do that, we will continue to support you, for some, I hope, if not, we are going to wait and lead you away", said Dumitru Buzatu.

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