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The government led by Florin Citu facing the first censure motion of this session

Recently confirmed as the chairman of the National Liberal Party (PNL), premier Florin Citu will go, on Tuesday to the Parliament, for the test of the censure motion.


The head of the government experiences a political premiere: two censure motions lodged in the same session, for the destitution of the executive, one initiated by PSD and the other by the former governing partners from USR-PLUS who joined the AUR MP for this action.


The parties in the parliament competed against one another in this session to put an end to the government. And the first who started the procedure were, paradoxically, the coalition partners of PNL, USR-PLUS, as a result of the break in the governmental agreement, after premier Florin Citu decided to dismiss the minister of Justice, Stelian Ion. Although it was lodged on 6th September, before that of the PSD, the USR-PLUS and AUR motion was blocked, by repeated dithering and a notice to CCR, so that it was ready for voting.


On Tuesday, in the joint plenary of the parliament, the censure motion lodged by PSD will be voted; the motion called ‘ Stop to poverty, to growing prices and to the criminals. Down with the Citu government’ was signed by 157 social-democrat MPs. The senators and deputies from USR-PLUS and those from AUR stated on many occasions that they will vote the PSD motion.

Florin Citu faces a large majority who wants the change of the government, majority made up of PSD, USR-PLUS, AUR, plus a part of the MPs who supported Ludovic Orban at the congress on 25th September.


What the Constitution says


According to the Constitution, the Deputies chamber and the Senate, in joint meeting can withdraw the trust offered to the government by the adoption of a censure motion, with the vote of the majority of the deputies and the senators. The censure motion may be initiated by at least one quarter of the total number of the deputies and senators, the government is notified at the moment of the lodging and it is debated three days after the day it was lodged in the joint meeting of the two chambers.

If the censure motion was rejected, the deputies and the senators who signed the document can no longer initiate, in the same session, a new censure motion, with the exception of the case when the government engages its responsibility in the parliament.


Fat chances for the adoption of the censure motion, according to the figures in the parliament


In order to be adopted, the motion needs 234 votes. The parliamentary calculus of the opposition is the following:

· PSD -157 MPs

· USR-PLUS - 80 MPs

· AUR – 43 MPs


If all MPs of these bodies voted the motion, on Tuesday, this would be adopted by 280 votes, namely 46 votes more than necessary, - 234 for the government to taken down.


The 280 MPs could be joined by some free MPs who supported Ludovic Orban at the congress of 25th September. The former PNL leader relied, before the congress, on approximately 50 colleagues. Ludovic Orban announced that he would not vote the censure motion addressed to the Citu government.


In his turn, PNL who has 134 MPs, relies on the UDMR votes, who has 29 deputies and senators. The 18 MPs of the national minorities could not participate in the voting, this being the tradition of the group, along their activity in the parliament. There are four votes of the non-affiliated MPs who will vote ‘as their conscience dictates’.


The liberals announced, through their chairman Florin Citu that they authorised several PNL MPs from the Deputies’ chamber and the senate to negotiate ‘person to person’ to convince the representatives of the opposition not to vote the censure motion, the argument being that we are in the middle of the fourth wave of pandemics and the country needs a government ‘with full powers’.


Florin Citu launched a warning for those in USR-PLUS: if they vote the PSD motion, then any possibility for patching together the governing coalition stops.


There are liberals who want a PNL minority government, which, in case the motion passes, to be supported in the parliament only for the management of the present sanitary crisis, while others expressed the possibility that the present government stays interim for a longer period of time, but with limited attributions.


The new USR-PLUS chairman, Dacian Ciolos reiterated the fact that his party does not want Florin Citu as premier, this being the main condition for rejoining the negotiations with the liberals. Similarly, Ciolos said that he will not support a minority government, led by Florin Citu, USR-PLUS getting into the opposition.


What follows after the censure motion is voted


According to the figures in the legislative, the Citu government has fat chances to be taken down, on Tuesday, through the vote in the parliament. Immediately after the vote, president Klaus Iohannis comes in the picture as he has to call the parliamentary parties for consultations and he will name, finally, a new proposal for the premier. The new premier has ten days to come to the parliament with a new team of ministers and a governing programme, to get the vote of trust.


In case the censure motion fails, the Citu government stays in place, but a new censure motion will be prepared, by those in USR-PLUS and AUR which will get for voting in the parliament in the following period.


Who could be the PNL sacrifice premier


Nicolae Ciuca ( the minister of Defence) and Lucian Bode ( the minister of domestic affairs) are the variants that president Klaus Iohannis takes into consideration for the role of sacrifice premier, say the sources in the PNL leadership for News.ro. The premier named by Iohannis will withdraw before the investment vote in the parliament, so that the president may come with the proposal for Florin Citu as premier.


A decision of the Constitutional Court of 2020 forbids that the premier rejected by censure motion be nominated, immediately as premier by the president. Concretely, after the Orban government was taken down by censure motion in January 2020, CCR decided that the president cannot name Ludovic Orban again as first attempt to form the government. As a result, the head of state came with the variant Florin Citu, at that time minister of finances. But Florin Citu rejected his mandate, fifteen minutes before the trust vote of the parliament, dominated then by PSD. Why? Due to the coronavirus pandemics which had just broken out, PSD was willing to vote a Citu government. In exchange, to keep partnership with PNL, president Klaus Iohannis wanted Ludovic Orban, the leader of the liberals at that time at the head of the government. As a result, Florin Citu took a step behind and the president named Orban as prime-minister who was installed with the PSD votes. Thus, Florin Citu played the role of sacrifice premier, thrown in the political fight only to validate the CCR decision.


Now, Florin Citu is in the same situation as Ludovic Orban at the beginning of 2020. The censure motion lodged by the social-democrats has good chance to pass, as PSD, USR and AUR – the parties hostile to the premier – have about 50 votes over the limit of the majority. As president Klaus Iohannis insists to keep Florin Citu as premier, he needs a sacrifice variant to obey the CCR decision.


At present, the variants taken into consideration by Iohannis are Nicolae Ciuca and Lucian Bode, consider the liberal sources. The PNL leaders take into consideration the variant where, due to the sanitary crisis, Nicolae Ciuca be voted by PSD for the head of the government. Even if he is a PNL MP, Nicolae Ciuca is considered rather a technocrat. In case he is elected, Ciuca will resign, so that the president comes with Florin Citu as premier again, who will try to get a parliamentary majority.



Tuesday, October 5, 2021