Romanian top court rules PM nomination unconstitutional

The Constitutional Court of Romania ruled on Monday that there is a legal conflict between the president and the parliament regarding the nomination of Liberal leader Ludovic Orban, also the outgoing prime minister, to form a new government.

In this case, the president will have to make a new nomination for the position of prime minister, according to local analysts.

The Constitutional Court made the decision after debating the complaint signed by the presidents of the two Houses of Parliament regarding a legal conflict of constitutional nature between the president and the parliament regarding the nomination of the new prime minister.

The court stressed that the nomination of the candidate for the position of prime minister must aim to ensure the coalescing of a parliamentary majority in order to form a new government.

According to the complaint, by denying the choice for prime minister expressed by a parliamentary majority and appointing Orban as prime minister, “the President of Romania violates the will of the parliament, which had just withdrawn its confidence by a recent censure motion…”

Orban, whose cabinet stepped down after losing a censure motion in parliament on Feb. 5, was nominated by President Klaus Iohannis as new prime minister one day later.

The prime minister-designate submitted to the parliament, on Feb. 10, the list of the new cabinet, which included the same ministers as in the previous government.

According to the original schedule, the parliament is due to meet late in the afternoon for the investiture of Orban’s new cabinet. Yet, the meeting was declared close soon after opening, as there was no necessary quorum, half plus one in the 465-member bicameral parliament.

Main opposition, the Social Democratic Party, the Pro Romania and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats announced earlier that their MPs would not attend the meeting.

What happened today is seen by local analysts as adding obstacles to the efforts of the head of state and the National Liberal Party to achieve snap elections.

Under the constitution, the parliament can be dissolved and early elections are held if two successive prime minister proposals or two successive government proposals fail in parliament.

According to Orban, the lawmakers will participate in the procedures for the voting to provide quorum, but will not cast a vote in order to allow the dissolution of parliament and early elections being triggered.

Iohannis and Orban have been emphasizing recently their desire to advance the general elections scheduled for the end of the year to the summer, so that the Liberals could take advantage of their current high public support rate to change as soon as possible the unfavorable status quo of the party currently occupying only 20 percent of seats in parliament.

The Social Democrats, the largest parliamentary party accounting for over 40 percent of seats, is firmly opposed to early elections. The party stepped down last October in a censure motion after almost three years in power.