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Confidence motion filed after Prime Minister Florin Citu’s coalition unraveled over a dispute over development funds last month.
Romania’s parliament has overthrown Prime Minister Florin Citu’s nine-month-old minority government in a vote of no confidence, exacerbating an ongoing political crisis.
Tuesday’s motion was tabled by the opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) and is supported by former coalition partner USR-Plus and the far-right AUR party. It was passed with 281 votes; only 234 were needed.
Romania, one of the poorest member states of the European Union, has been in a political deadlock for a month, threatening the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to reduce the large double deficit.
Citu, leader of the National Liberal Party, will remain as interim prime minister until a new prime minister gains the confidence of parliament.
His coalition disintegrated last month after the centrist USR, a relatively new group, withdrew its ministers in a dispute over a regional development fund, losing a parliamentary majority. USR then filed a no-confidence vote and refused to return to government until Citu was overthrown.
President Klaus Iohannis called on political parties to discuss forming a new government next week before appointing a new prime minister, most likely from the ranks of his ally, Citu’s centrist Liberal Party.
“Romania must be governed. We are in a pandemic, an energy price crisis… and now a political crisis. We have an adult more than ever [political] position,” Iohannis told reporters.
“To give parties more time to come up with a solution, I won’t call until next week for consultation.”
Early elections are unlikely as parliament would have to reject two consecutive proposals for Prime Minister of Iohannis within 60 days, and coalition parties have said they are determined to rebuild a government quickly given the current economic challenges.
Iohannis and coalition partners, including the ethnic Hungarian UDMR and the USR, have said the current three-party reformist political set-up is the best recipe for Romania, which oversees an EU-backed recovery of €29.2 billion ($ 33.9 billion). plan.
The most likely outcome is a reinstatement of the previous coalition which had a 57 percent majority but with a different prime minister, in line with the USR’s sole condition of rejoining government.
“We are open to rebuilding our centrist government coalition,” USR senior Dan Barna said.
The ongoing crisis could hamper Romania’s efforts to deal with an alarming wave of COVID-19 infections in the country of 19 million, currently placing severe strain on the country’s hospitals.
On Tuesday, Romania registered the highest number of daily COVID-19 infections – 15,037 cases – since the start of the pandemic.
Romania’s vaccination campaign, meanwhile, has lagged behind many other EU countries, with only a third of the population fully vaccinated.
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