The ALDE leadership decided this week the withdrawal of the party from government (EN). 3 of the 4 ALDE ministers (the Minister for the Environment, the Minister for Energy and the Minister for the Relations with the Parliament) have resigned from the Cabinet (EN). The Foreign Minister chose to remain in the Cabinet and resigned from ALDE.
During the next two weeks it is expected to see clarifications regarding the state secretaries representing ALDE who will continue to hold their positions or who will resign. It is also to be clarified how PSD and ALDE branches will collaborate in county councils and local councils where the two parties hold the majority.
ALDE’s departure from the Government implicitly leads to the dismantling of the parliamentary majority that resulted from the 2016 parliamentary elections. In this context, the leader of the main opposition parliamentary formation, PNL, declared that the party will submit a new censorship motion (EN). All opposition parties have announced that will support such an endeavor.
The simple majority in the parliamentary plenary session is formed by the support of 233 parliamentarians. The opposition formations currently have 235 parliamentarians, the PSD has 202 parliamentarians, the national minority group consists of 17 parliamentarians and 11 are independent MPs.
From the point of view of mathematical calculations, if a new censorship motion will be indeed supported by all the 6 opposition parliamentary formations it will stand good chances to be adopted (especially if some independent parliamentarians or from the national minority group will also support such an endeavor). However, even in this scenario PSD can continue to hold the majority in the upper house of the Parliament, the Senate of Romania (with 69 senators, one more than the one needed to ensure the simple majority).
According to the PNL leader, the censorship motion will be submitted for debate and vote in Parliament only after 233 parliamentarians will sign for its registration (the exact number of MPs needed for the censorship motion adoption). This approach indicates that the Opposition is not in a hurry to submit it, a censorship motion going to be voted at earliest in 2-3 weeks and at latest near the presidential elections.
Until then, another test that can indicate the support that the PSD Government is enjoying in the parliament will be represented by the vote to support the new proposals of ministers, in the places vacated by the departures of the ALDE ministers. Due to the change in the political configuration of the Government following the exit of ALDE from the government, it is necessary to validate the new ministers in the parliament (EN). The prime minister has 45 days to request a vote of support in parliament. If the majority of MPs will vote to support the proposals it will become clear that there is still no alternative parliamentary majority. If the vote is negative, the Government will continue to work and will have to come up with other proposals.
Most likely the opposition formations will prefer to see if the government still has the needed parliamentary support for the validation of the new ministers, before submitting the censorship motion. If, however, the government will postpone the request for a support vote to the upper limit of the 45 days, the public pressure will increase on the opposition formations to evaluate firstly the government’s support through the censorship motion.
Also, worth mentioning is the withdrawal from the electoral race for the presidential elections of the president of ALDE, Calin Popescu Tariceanu (EN). ALDE and Pro Romania announced that they will support the independent candidacy of former MEP Mircea Diaconu (EN). Also, Alexandru Cumpanasu, president of an NGO and uncle of the kidnapped and most likely killed adolescent in a recent case that benefited from a wide media exposure, announced his intention to run for office. Both candidates (if the second one will materialize) will attract votes especially from the area of the left wing electorate, affecting the chances of Prime Minister Viorica Dancila to enter the second round of the presidential elections.
A new session of the European Parliament starts with the beginning of September. One of the priorities of the next period will be the hearing of the Commissioners who will be nominated by the elected President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. She continued during the week the interviews with the candidates nominated by the Member States and chanhes in the Commission structure can also be expected (EN). Regarding the situation of Romania, so far there is no official confirmation of the rejection of both candidates proposed by Prime Minister Viorica Dancila. It is expected that in the immediate period of time there will be more clarifications on this issue.
Economic & Fiscal Updates
From September 1, the value of the pension point increased by 15% (EN). The budgetary impact calculated by the Fiscal Council will be of 800 million lei per month, in the conditions in which the budget deficit for the first 7 months, although it decreased from the one at 6 months (from 1.94% of GDP to 1.76% of the GDP), remains at a high level compared to the one registered last year in the same period, 1.26% (EN). Consolidated budget expenditures were 14.7% higher than in the same period last year, and revenues were 12% higher.