Romanian PM Orban survives no-confidence motion

By bne IntelliNews September 1, 2020

Romania's Liberal government led by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban survived the no-confidence motion submitted by the opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) as an insufficient number of MPs showed up to express their vote on August 31.

The country thus avoids major fiscal slippage, as the Social Democrats had promised to raise pensions by 40%, double child allowances and initiate other major public spending should they succeed in ousting Orban’s government. 

While appointing own government would not have been straightforward in such a situation, Social Democrats’ power to pursue the promised measures by the use of their majority coalition in parliament would have strengthened. In contrast, the Liberal government promised to go ahead with a more sustainable 14% pension rise, though the legal grounds of such an approach remain shaky.

“The 40% pension increase is … still possible, either as a policy choice (for example if the PSD takes power and pushes through its previous agenda), or as an unintended outcome of tactical political moves,” Fitch rating agency said last week, in a comment ahead of the no-confidence vote.

While the concerns have been partly removed by the failure of the no-confidence motion, both the political and the fiscal outlook remains uncertain.

Only 226 MPs attended the parliament's joint sitting to vote on the motion, versus 233 needed for a quorum, as the newly elected Social Democrat leader Marcel Ciolacu seems to already face authority issues within his party.

Thus, the vote couldn't take place, and the motion was dismissed as the extraordinary parliamentary session ended on August 31, G4media.ro reported.

The PSD, Pro Romania, and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) were the only parties that supported the motion. However, five PSD MPs also failed to attend the meeting for various reasons.

Ciolacu said that the five MPs, out of which three were unable to attend the vote for medical reasons, would be expelled.

He also said that he would summon the party's leadership in a couple of days to discuss further steps against the government.

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