Romanian Senators voted on Tuesday in favor of a simple motion tabled by the opposition that calls for the dismissal of Justice minister Monica Macovei, which is accused of doing too little for the reform of the Justice system in the country. 81 Senators voted in favor of the bill, which means at least 7 MPs representing the governing coalition supported the coalition move.

Both Liberals (PNL) and Democrats (PD), who form the governing coalition in Bucharest, had said on Monday they would oppose the move and would stand by Macovei, one of the very few Romanian ministers that has received full support from the European Commission for her efforts to reform Romanian Justice.

Macovei met coalition MPs prior to the Senate session. PNL sources told the Liberals assured Macovei of their support on one condition - to put an end to her criticism about the Romanian Government which she is a member of.

PD leader Emil Boc says there is no constitutional constraint that would force Macovei to resign as the motion voices only a point of view of the government. But the main groups of the opposition - the Social Democrats (PSD), the Greater Romania Party (PRM) as well as the Conservative Party (PC) - claim otherwise.

One PRM official warning that unless Macovei resigns the processes involving both the government and the Parliament on Justice matters would be blocked.

While Liberal PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu had said Macovei would not have to resign, other PNL members think otherwise. Liberal politician Crin Antonescu said he believed Macovei should leave the government but admitted that all responsibility falls on PM Tariceanu’s shoulders, who might or might not call for her resignation.

And Verestoy Atila of the Hungarian Democrats (UDMR), who are also part of the government, said Macovei received a politicall lesson today and should be more open to dialogue from now on.

69 votes were needed for the motion to pass. And 69 senators the opposition from a total of 72 were present at the session today. Leaving apart independent MPs, that means at least seven senators of the governing coalition voted against Macovei today.

Brussels officials dodged a public position on the issue, with a spokesman for EC vicepresident Franco Frattini refusing to comment when contacted by “Even if Mr. Frattini supported Ms. Macovei permanently, this vote is a domestic issue for Romania and cannot be commented upon”, the spokesman said.