UPDATE. Snap elections in Romania look uncertain after court ruling

Valer Dorneanu, presedintele Curtii Constitutionale si Florin Iordache

Romania’s president says the prospect of early elections has fallen after after a court ruled that he must pick a prime minister who can command a parliamentary majority.

Monday’s development prolongs political uncertainty in Romania with President Klaus Iohannis acknowledging that the possibility of snap elections „have just dropped to under 50%.”

Earlier, the Constitutional Court voted 7-2 that there was a “juridical conflict of a constitutional nature” between Iohannis and Parliament, after he nominated Ludovic Orban for a second time to be prime minister without the assurance that he had a parliamentary majority.

Acting chairman of the opposition Social Democratic Party, Marcel Ciolacu praised the ruling: “I am happy democracy functions in Romania.” The party wants a national unity government.

But Iohannis said the Social Democrats were „obsessed by power” and „refuse to accept they have lost the legitimacy to govern.”

The Social Democrats had asked court to overturn move to renominate Orban, after Parliament dismissed his three-month-old government on Feb. 5 in a no-confidence vote.

„It’s not a defeat,” said Orban and accused the court of political bias, saying there were no constitutional grounds for the ruling. He insisted he would try and get a majority of lawmakers to support him.

Iohannis said he would not nominate a Social Democrat prime minister, adding he was waiting for the court to release details of its ruling.

 The court decision came ahead of Orban facing a no-confidence vote in parliament, but that didn’t happen as a majority of lawmakers boycotted the vote, invalidating the session.

Constitutional Court chairman, Augustin Zegrean, said Monday’s court ruling did not impede snap elections.

The Liberals, backed by Iohannis are seeking a snap election months ahead of time to capitalize on a good showing in polls.

If parliament reject two successive governments within 60 days, the president can dissolve parliament, triggering a snap poll. The Social Democrats and other parties oppose early elections.

The prolonged political uncertainty has unsettled investors and Romania’s currency, the leu fell to an all-time low on Friday.


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