After the centralization of 98.71% of the votes, but without the redistribution of the losing ones, there is a single possible governing Coalition, which will gather the majority in the Parliament. PNL, USR-PLUS and UDMR will most probably have over 50% of the parliamentary mandates, after the votes will be centralized, and the redistribution completed, being one step away from forming the future Government.
Thus, the parties’ presidents have already stated that the Coalition is the only option for forming a Government, given the political structure of the newly elected Parliament. Starting from this point, we notice how each political party is trying to outline its objectives and to choose the ministries they would lead, in order to start negotiations with the other parties. However, among the statements, information on official sources or documents, there are dissensions that will make it difficult to negotiate and, in worst-case scenario, will delay the takeover of the Government.
To start with, we shall take a look at PNL’s main statements, as well as the information received by the mass-media, regarding today’s liberal internal meeting, meant to lay the foundations for the liberal negotiations. With an Orban resigning (sic!), With a Ciuca taking over the interim government, the Liberals hope to be able to lead the key ministries. Therefore, they want the advisory ministries, first of all, namely the Ministry of Public Finance and the Ministry of Justice. Secondly, PNL wishes to keep the Ministry of Interior, Agriculture, European Funds and the Economy one. Furthermore, they would cede five ministries to USR-PLUS, including Education and Health, and three to UDMR. A first important aspect, in this scenario, would be the fact that the preferences of the liberals overlap with those of the USR-PLUS Alliance, the latter wanting to have at least one advisory ministry (Finance or Justice), which PNL also takes into account. A question mark is raised by the Ministry of Environment – given that the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, prepared by the Liberals, is a document criticized by both NGOs and USR-PLUS, we would have expected PNL to keep this ministry so that, in collaboration with the European Funds one, to maintain the current version of the Plan. But there are several chances for the Liberals to compromise and collaborate with the other two parties for a final and improved version of the NRRP, with a Ministry of Environment led by USR-PLUS. Such a scenario would also be in line with the latter’s emphasis on environmental protection. However, we have a dilemma: UDMR would have requested the Ministry of Environment as well, or the Hungarian Union has long been criticized by civil society and the Alliance for their forest management at local level, where communities are led by UDMR. It remains to be seen whether USR-PLUS will abandon its environmental objectives in order to leave UDMR at the helm of Environment.
Moving from the Liberals to USR-PLUS, the Alliance recently published a document on their conditions for negotiations, emphasizing the need to set common goals, in the first stage, in order to later “divide” the ministries. Thus, in addition to those mentioned above regarding the Finance and Justice, USR-PLUS considers it absolutely necessary to rewrite the NRRP – restoring the allocation matrices of funds and increasing the budget for forests from 200 million/year to 300 million –another reason to believe that the Ministry of Environment would come under the leadership of USR-PLUS. Yet the Alliance does not stop here, as they will call for a thorough reorganization of the Ministry of European Funds or its abolition and the transfer of its responsibilities under the coordination of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister. A request that PNL will not accept or, if they make a compromise, then it will most likely choose the restructuring of the Ministry.
Thirdly, if so far the PNL leaders have been willing to discuss the conditions of USR-PLUS, UDMR also agrees that a discussion on the objectives of the government is necessary before the official negotiations. Also, the Hungarians would be in favor of holding the Ministry of Environment, Culture and Health, the most important for them being the Ministry of Culture, which would be led by Kelemen Hunor. It is understandable his choice, given the lack of national minorities in Romania’s cultural life. If UDMR is willing to give up the Environment and Health, to the detriment of USR-PLUS, just to lead Culture, we can expect the negotiations to flow at a fast and efficient pace, without considerable dissensions.
Finally, we mention the parties‘ proposals for the position of Prime Minister. On one hand, we have PNL that insists that the current interim prime minister, Nicolae Ciucă, is capable of leading the future Government. Although the sources confirm that it is the preferred option of President Iohannis, the liberals also rely on Ilie Bolojan (CJ Bihor) or Florin Cîțu. Of course, unlike Cîțu, Bolojan would enjoy a greater sympathy among parliamentarians and the liberal electorate, given his reputation as Oradea’s former mayor. Therefore, PNL will most likely nominate Nicolae Ciucă as Prime Minister. On the other hand, USR-PLUS put forward the option of Dacian Cioloș as Prime Minister, although he gave assurances that he prefers the key ministries instead of the position of prime minister. UDMR has not yet submitted a proposal for a prime minister, which makes us think that the Liberals will give the next head of government. In the same time, the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies would return to the Liberals, in the person of Ludovic Orban, and that of the Senate – to the USR-PLUS Alliance – as stated by sources inside PNL.
It remains to be seen to what extent the three parties will be able to reach a consensus on both the objectives of the future government and the portfolios of the ministries. What is certain is that, if they manage to keep the majority they will get, this Government will have an easier path through the Parliament, than the current one.