The leader of Romania’s biggest party has been mocked by party members, and several Social Democrat lawmakers have defected to the ruling Liberal party in recent days. So it is no surprise that President Klaus Iohannis added his voice to the criticism of a failed vote of no-confidence against the minority Liberal Party.
Iohannis is no friend of the Social Democrats who submitted the motion, and wastes no occasion to say they are an unreformed and corrupt bunch of politicians who should be consigned to the garbage bin of history.
Iohannis was leader of the rival Liberal Party until 2014 when he ran for president and won. He easily won re-election in 2019 against the Social Democratic candidate, Viorica Dancila, who was prime minister until October 2019.
On Wednesday, Iohannis was quick to tell reporters twice that he disliked the habit of some Romanian politicians of swapping one party for another at the drop of a hat. That happened Monday as Parliament prepared for the motion when a couple of lawmakers quit the Social Democrats and joined the minority Liberals.
But Iohannis reserved his sternest words for the Social Democrats which on paper, at least, is Romania’s biggest party.
“This motion touched on the ridiculous,” he said. “Even the people who initiated this step (no-confidence vote) weren’t able to make sure their own lawmakers attended,” he said. With political allies, the Social Democrats should have easily had a majority.
“The no-confidence vote is cynical and irresponsible …. After Monday’s failure, I wonder what point the Social Democrats, which are thirsty for power, wanted to make.”
If the vote had been successful, as it appeared it might be, it would have thrown Romania back into a period of uncertainty as it grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.
But Marcel Ciolacu, who was anointed party leader in late August, was unable to muster a quorum and called for a one-hour recess to give lawmakers more time to turn up. It was in vain. Even after the recess, there were just 226 lawmakers present in Parliament, short of the 233 minimum needed.
The vote was declared invalid, even before it got underway. Ciolacu faced a backlash within the party with some saying he’d failed miserably in his first test as leader.
The Social Democrats now say they won’t file another vote of no-confidence in September, presumably to spare itself from further ridicule.
Romania holds local elections on Sept. 27 and parliamentary elections are slated for the end of the year.