Romanian Prime Minister-designate Ludovic Orban faces a confidence vote Monday amid political uncertainty and concerns that European Union policymaking will be held up over the process.
There were tensions ahead of the vote in Bucharest, with two parties including the Social Democrats, the largest group in the legislature, saying they would boycott the session. However, 235 lawmakers attended the session, ensuring a quorum.
The vote comes ahead of presidential elections this weekend.
If Orban secures the votes needed for the government to take office, it will favor President Klaus Iohannis who is running for re-election. Social Democrat candidate, the outgoing Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, is hoping to block Orban which would boost her chances of getting into the runoff on Nov. 24.
Orban, 56, says the objectives of his centrist government include streamlining government ministries, investment in infrastructure and ensuring an independent justice system. Even if he takes office, he faces an uphill battle getting support for legislation.
A contentious judicial overhaul that sparked widespread protests and criticism from the European Union and U.S. contributed to the collapse of the Social Democrat government in an Oct. 10 vote.
The former Social Democrat chairman Liviu Dragnea is currently serving a 3 ½ year sentence for abuse of office.
After Dancila’s government was toppled, Iohannis nominated Orban of the opposition Liberal Party to form a government.
Before taking office, however, Orban’s government must be approved by parliament. If he loses the vote Monday, the president would have to nominate a new prime minister, which could further delay Romania picking an EU commissioner.
The new European Commission was supposed to take over on November 1, but that process has been held up by the political developments in Bucharest.
The Social Democrats and Pro-Romania, a party led by former Prime Minister Victor Ponta sat they will boycott the vote which would lead to more political uncertainty and delay the formation of a new government.
A total of 233 lawmakers need to be present in Parliament for the session to be valid. There were 235 lawmakers present for the session. Orban he needs 233 to approve his government for it to take office.
Orban called the boycott “embarrassing and disgraceful… ..which shows a disregard for the state’s institutions.” He said he was counting on 237 to 243 lawmakers to attend the session.
If Orban’s government wins parliamentary approval, the Liberals are expected to quickly name a European commissioner.