Saturday, 07. December 2013 - 23:12
27. 04. 12. - 15:00
The Opposition Social Liberal Union (USL), including Social Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives toppled today the cabinet of Prime Minister (PM) Razvan Mihai Ungureanu after a dramatic session of the Parliament.
The cabinet of former head of the foreign intelligence service Ungureanu had been appointed on 9 February, following the resignation of the government of Emil Boc, the leader of the Democrat Liberal Party (PDL), the largest in government. Boc resigned following massive anti-austerity protests and calls for democratic changes.
USL’s no confidence motion has been adopted with 235 votes and 9 against, whilst the Opposition needed 231 votes to topple the government.
"Despite all the abuse, and all the threats and blackmails from PDL, the Opposition has succeeded to overthrow the government. Today we witnessed Justice at work. We are ready now to take the government. We have six months (until the Legislative elections) to start the democratic changes and mending all the damages produced by the PDL governments", the co-president of the Opposition, Social democrat leader Victor Ponta (picture) said following the outcome of the vote. Ponta accused 'a desperate power' of using ‘mafia-like’ weapons to stop the opposition’s motion.
"I want to thank all those legislators who had the courage and the dignity to vote. I am convinced we did the right thing for Romania. We are starting six months earlier the reconstruction of Romania", a teary Ponta told journalists.
Two weeks ago, USL decided to nominate Victor Ponta for the PM position, in case the no confidence motion was adopted. Now, president Traian Basescu has to acknowledge the defeat of the majority and nominate a new PM. The president called the leaders of the parties to Cotroceni Palace later on today for negotiations.
The other co-president of the Opposition, Liberal leader Crin Antonescu previously said that if Basescu refuses to appoint Ponta PM following the Opposition’s no confidence success and the change of the Majority in the Senate, then USL will start the procedures to impeach him.
"It was an honour for me to lead this government and I am glad that in such a short time I succeeded to do what I had to do for the country. This is the democracy," Razvan Mihai Ungureanu said shortly after the vote. He warned that he didn't say his last word, hinting that he might form a new political movement, as rumoured lately.
Following the vote, PDL president Emil Boc officially announced the end of the ruling coalition, that included PDL, the Hungarian Democratic Union in Romania (UDMR), the Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR) and the national minorities group in Parliament. Boc accused the group of the minorities (other than Hungarian) of ‘treason’, as some of their MPs voted against the government.
The Opposition accused the Ungureanu cabinet of wrongful privatizations, of bribing local elects with public money and of breaching the autonomy of the universities. USL also accused the cabinet of denying the right of the retired people to get back their money on the Health tax after the Constitutional Court ruled it unconstitutional.
Ahead of the vote, the leaders of the Social Liberal Union called all the legislators irrespective of their political affiliation to vote the motion and start the democratic changes in Romania for the well-being of the citizens, who they said, had been abused and ignored by all PDL previous governments.
The debates ahead the vote were extremely heated, with Opposition and Majority trading tough accusations. Intense negotiations for securing the votes had been conducted all through the morning.
The Opposition accused Ungureanu of being a puppet in the hands of president Traian Basescu. Victor Ponta accused the PM that he tried to give away for nothing the last remaining natural resources of the country.
There were also a few unprecedented dramatic moments. A Deputy of the Democrat Liberal Party announced his resignation from the helm of the Parliament, saying he had enough of the humiliations endured. Catalin Croitoru said he refused to obey the party orders to stay in the bench and not cast a vote.
"I had enough. I had all the patience in the world, I tried to present to PDL the problems of the citizens but I felt like talking to the walls. This is why I am voting today the motion", Croitoru said, whilst saying he will join the Social Democratic Party.
Another legislator with the Social Democratic party who suffered an injury came in a rolling chair to support the Opposition.
Another dramatic moment stirred a lot of emotions and suspicions regarding the ruling coalition’s MPs being blackmailed to not vote the Opposition’s motion. A Democratic Liberal Senator, who announced her intention to vote for motion, was forced to change her mind and left the Parliament, without casting her vote in the end.
According to Opposition MPs present in the hall, Senator Sorina Placinta had been blackmailed in the plain view of the legislative by Elena Udrea, the confidante of President Traian Basescu and the leader of PDL Bucharest branch to change her mind. The Senator left the hall in tears, telling journalists that she will vote in favour of the censure motion. Later on, a Senator of the Opposition announced the plenum that Sorina Placinta was banned from voting and has been sequestrated in the office of a PDL legislator.
Premier Razvan Mihai Ungureanu and the two co-presidents of the Opposition Social Democrat president Victor Ponta and Liberal leader Crin Antonescu exchanged tough accusations and traded personal attacks during the debates.
Following the fall of the cabinet, the team of the International Monetary Fund, announced it suspends its evaluation mission in Romania.
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