President: Romania must hold general elections, current parliamentary majority ‘illegitimate’

Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea

President Klaus Iohannis says Romania needs to hold general elections this year to establish ‘a solid majority’ in Parliament to face challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The minority Liberal government set the election date for Dec. 6, but the Constitutional Court has ruled that Parliament, not the government should decide what date the elections are held throwing the date of the elections into doubt.

Parliament’s mandate ends on Dec. 20, but opposition parties, which are doing worse in the polls than the Liberals, would like to delay the ballot until March, which is possible legally. The Social Democratic Party and its allies have a majority in Parliament.

The president spoke against a delay Wednesday saying elections were “fundamental for handling the pandemic, but also for the upcoming period, one of reconstruction, to have a new solid parliamentary majority,” he said in a post on Facebook.

„The current majority is illegitimate, it has delayed and even blocked a series of measures to fight the pandemic. It has passed laws that will throw Romania into the worst economic crisis of the last 30 years,” he said.

In September, Parliament approved a 40% hike in state pensions, bringing warnings of ratings downgrades and raising concerns over ballooning deficits with the European Union.

Fitch Ratings said a 14% increase would “reduce the challenge of consolidating public finances compared with the previously budgeted 40% increase,” predicting that the eventual increase would depend on “political calculations” ahead of elections.

“A large pension hike remains a risk to our baseline fiscal forecasts,” the agency said in August.

The Liberal minority government wanted to enforce a smaller, but sustainable increase of 14%, but the Social Democrats pushed for a larger hike.

Mr Iohannis said that after Dec. 20, the legislature would be hamstrung and could only pass certain laws.

“It would be catastrophic to not have a functioning Parliament, with full powers during this major health crisis,” he said.


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