Romanian National Liberal Party (PNL) leader Ludovic Orban speaks at the parliament in Bucharest, capital of Romania, Feb. 5, 2020. The Romanian government on Wednesday lost a censure motion initiated by the main opposition Social Democrats, only three months after it took office on Nov. 4. The cabinet led by National Liberal Party (PNL) leader Ludovic Orban became the fifth government to step down in a censure motion in Romania in the last 30 years. (Photo by Cristian Cristel/Xinhua)
BUCHAREST, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Romanian government on Wednesday lost a censure motion initiated by the main opposition Social Democrats, only three months after it took office on Nov. 4.
The censure motion was supported by 261 votes, more than the required minimum of 233 votes, or 50 percent plus one in the 465-seat bicameral parliament. A total of 139 lawmakers voted against.
The cabinet led by National Liberal Party (PNL) leader Ludovic Orban became the fifth government to step down in a censure motion in Romania in the last 30 years.
The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies had convened in a joint meeting to discuss and vote on the censure motion "Orban/PNL government -- privatization of Romanian democracy", which was signed also by MPs of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), after the government changed mayoral elections to two rounds from one round ahead of the local elections slated for June.
According to the signatories, the Orban government's change in the electoral system shortly before the elections violates the European standards, and was made unilaterally, without consultation and debate.
"You cannot be in power and change the electoral law out of short-term interest, a few months before the election, to create an advantage for yourself," criticized the initiators of the motion, underlining that "it is an obvious abuse of power. An abuse that blatantly violates the Romanian Constitution and standards of good practice defined by the Venice Commission and shared by all the member states of the European Union."
Under the Constitution, the government is allowed to assume responsibility for a draft law before the parliament, but needs to step down if the motion submitted against the move is adopted.
As the Orban government lost the motion, the draft law on electing mayors in two rounds is also considered rejected, meaning the mayors will be elected as so far, in one round of elections.
President Klaus Iohannis announced after the fall of the government that he will convene the parliamentary political parties for consultations on Thursday for the appointment of a new prime minister.
Iohannis emphasized that he strongly favors early elections, adding that in absence of a political will in this regard he wanted a government "built by and around the National Liberal Party."
"Tomorrow evening, after I finish all the consultations I will probably already announce the person designated to form a new government," the president told a press briefing at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace late Wednesday.