The Social Democratic Government of Romania has been toppled by a no-confidence vote in Parliament that was brought by the opposition and passed with 238 votes in favour and four against.
There were celebrations outside parliament as news came through the highly unpopular government of Prime Minister Viorica Dancila had been brought to an end.
It is now up to centre-right President Klaus Iohannis to consult the various political parties before appointing a new prime minister, probably from the ranks of the centre-right opposition. If the legislature twice rejects Iohannis’ proposals, Romania must hold early parliamentary elections.
In a plenary session before the vote of no confidence on Thursday, Prime Minister Dancila called members of the opposition parties “amateurish and irresponsible,” and described the motion against her government as “an incoherent mix of falsehoods,” according to the New York Times.
Writing on Facebook after the vote, Dan Barna, president of the Save Romania Union (USR) said: “The Dancila Government is no longer. There’s no reason to celebrate. Every day that Dragnea’s witnesses spent at Victoria Palace was a wasted day.”
For the opposition, this 56-year-old Dancila was little more than a puppet controlled by PSD President Liviu Dragnea, who was sentenced last May to three and a half years in prison for corruption. The PSD government tried until the last minute to avoid the sentence with a series of legal reforms aimed at softening the laws against corruption and asserting government control over the judiciary.
This included a failed campaign to block the candidacy of Laura Kovesi to lead the European Public Prosecutor Office, due to her record of successful prosecutions against PSD officials during her time as Romania’s chief prosecutor. Throughout its tenure, the government was endured widespread protests against the corruption and incompetence of its administration.
It has also been criticised for having triggered public debt to raise public salaries and pensions, ignoring the recommendations of international financial institutions.
The fall of the government may have a catastrophic effect on the Social Democrats, who face a presidential election on November 10, with Dancila as their chosen candidate.
It could also have consequences for the formation of the new European Commission in Brussels, which is waiting for the new proposal from Bucharest after its first two candidates for commissioner, Rovana Plumb and Dan Nica, were both rejected by Brussels.