Romania’s Prime Minister Viorica Dancila lashed out at politicians seeking to topple her government in a vote of no-confidence Thursday saying she was “more of a man,” than all of them.
Dancila defended her 21-month record as the country’s first woman prime minister, and called her detractors “amateurs and irresponsible,” people.
The Social Democrats who came to power in 2016 parliamentary elections are fighting to stay in power amid rising political tensions after they lost their majority in Parliament and one month ahead of presidential elections,
Romania’s major parties have united to try and topple Dancila’s government, with the outcome too close to call.
The opposition needs 233 votes to oust the government and claimed to have secured about 10 more than required.
In a sign of the tensions, the Social Democrats promised to hike wages and other incentives to public workers and has offered billions of lei to local authorities for infrastructure projects in a bid to stay in power.
President Klaus Iohannis who wants a Liberal-led government, blasted the Social Democrats for having “a government which is parallel with the needs for modernization of a European-type society in the 21st century.”
The Liberal Party initiated the motion saying the government had lost 6.4 billion euros of EU funds, hadn’t built highways, and had passed an early parole law which allowed violent detainees to walk free who then reoffended.
Ahead of the vote, Dancila issued a threat to the party’s own lawmakers saying if they voted against the government: “They will come under heavy attack from ordinary people. Nobody will forgive them if they betray the party today, the party that made them and brought them into Parliament.”
But Liberal Party lawmaker Raluca Turcan called her “an illegitimate premier,” opposed by 6.5 million Romanians in European Parliamentary elections where the party finished second, halving its score from the 2016 ballot.
Victor Ponta, the former Romanian Prime Minister, who was Social Democratic chairman until 2015, urged lawmakers to dismiss Dancila. “We have the duty to bury a dead person who inhabits Victory Palace (government offices) and is affecting all of us. If we don’t bury (her) then Romanians will bury,” her.
Leader of the Save Romania
Union, Dan Barna called for early elections.
Parliamentary elections are slated for next fall, while an early vote is not a likely outcome as Romania has never held early elections.
Barna who’s running for president next month, blasted the government for failing to build highways. He said since the Social Democrats came to power, it had only built 65 kilometres of highways.
He also criticized her for throwing the country’s foreign policy “back 50 years,” referring to her statements in the U.S. this year that Romania would relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, breaking the position of the European Union and Romania’s president who is in charge of foreign policy.
Iohannis immediately issued a statement, contradicted the prime minister, saying Romania would keep its embassy in Tel Aviv. Following her remarks, Jordan’s King Abdullah II cancelled his visit to Romania.
Three lawmakers who signed the motion which was brought by the Liberal Party won’t vote as they are sick or one Senator said he would spend the day hunting because the “opposition failed to convince me.” One lawmaker Cristian Lungu from the Popular Movement Party was transported to Parliament from hospital to cast his vote.
Two major names with a vested interested in the outcome were absent from the debate: Iohannis and Liviu Dragnea, former Social Democrat leader, who’s serving a 3 ½ year prison sentence for corruption. From his prison cell, he urged lawmakers to support Dancila.