226068 9/21/2009 4:27 09BUCHAREST640 Embassy Bucharest UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY 09BUCHAREST615 VZCZCXRO0123 PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG DE RUEHBM #0640 2640427 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 210427Z SEP 09 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9908 INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY UNCLAS BUCHAREST 000640
STATE FOR EUR/CE SCHEIBE
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PGOV, RO SUBJECT: PM TAKES LAST STEP ON LEGISLATIVE FAST-TRACKING; OPPOSITION NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION UNLIKELY TO SUCCEED
REF: BUCHAREST 615
1. (SBU) Summary. On September 17 opposition parties PNL and UDMR filed a no-confidence motion in the government of PM Boc after the final step in the Cabinet's attempt to fast-track a legislative package through Parliament (reftel). No members of the ruling coalition parties PDL and PSD have signed the no-confidence motion. The motion is expected to fail in a vote scheduled for September 21. We expect the political dance to continue as PSD and PDL party leaders meet separately on Monday to finalize their strategies next week's no-confidence vote, End Summary.
2. (SBU) On September 15, Boc presented to Parliament three major pieces of legislation for which his cabinet would "assume responsibility" (reftel). On the 17th, the opposition National Liberal Party (PNL) and Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) filed a no-confidence motion against one of them, the bill on a unitary pay scale (reftel). No member of the governing PDL or PSD parties signed the motion, though PSD and PDL will hold separate party leadership meetings on September 20 to determine their voting strategy. The no-confidence motion must be voted within three days and will likely be subject to a secret ballot. In the unlikely event the no-confidence motion passes, the Cabinet is dissolved and the bill fails. Otherwise, the bill becomes law.
3. (SBU) Neither PNL nor UDMR expect the motion to succeed, as together they command only half of the 236 votes (50 percent 1) needed for passage. UDMR chairman Marko Bela described the motion as an opportunity for the opposition to air its grievances. PSD chairman Mircea Geoana opposed the fast-track procedure but said his party will not support the no-confidence motion, citing the need to prevent a political crisis. He complained about PDL's "blackmail" masterminded by President Basescu and said his party will try to amend the legislation soon.
4. (SBU) Basescu's PDL is divided. Many MPs and local organizations would like to throw PSD out of the coalition, but this would likely require PDL members to vote against their own party and Prime Minister. As PDL chairman, PM Boc has opposed such a move on the grounds that it would harm PDL's image. Equally importantly, the government restructuring portion of the legislative package (reftel) would implement much needed reforms mandated by the IMF as a condition for disbursing the next tranche of funds to support GOR salaries and pensions. President Basescu admitted publicly earlier in the week that if without the IMF money Romania would face a difficult situation.
5. (SBU) Comment: In fact it is PSD that finds itself in a difficult situation. PDL's skillful maneuvering to date has highlighted PSD as an open critic of the Government, but PSD leaders are so far unwilling to sacrifice the patronage and financial resources that come with governing by actually quitting the coalition. Whether this apparent two-faced approach will cost PSD electoral points remains uncertain, but it is unlikely to help. End Comment. GITENSTEIN