Romanian Liberals Try to Restart Clock on Forming New Coalition
(Bloomberg) -- Romania’s ruling Liberal Party tried to reset the clock on its efforts to create a new government and solve a political crisis by scrapping a plan to form a minority government and handing back its mandate.
The party failed to muster enough support in parliament for a government, prompting Prime Minister-designate Nicolae Ciuca to ask the chamber’s leaders to cancel a confidence vote scheduled for Wednesday.
The move allows President Klaus Iohannis to either renominate him and give Ciuca another 10-day window to seek support for a coalition, or to nominate another candidate for premier.
The opposition Social Democrats, who have so far refused to join the Liberals in power, said they are willing to help end the two-month-long political stalemate or to support a call for snap elections.
“We’re ready to take on the responsibility of the government, and I’m talking with politicians from all sides so we can end this political crisis,” Social Democrat leader Marcel Ciolacu, who had previously said a short-term cabinet that could rule until February may be a good solution, told reporters on Tuesday. “All options are on the table, and of course returning to the people would be best.”
The crisis escalated last month when Liberal Party leader Florin Citu was ousted as prime minister in a confidence vote. The Liberals failed to reconstitute a coalition with the anti-corruption USR party after they split over of a clash on a regional spending plan. USR unsuccessfully tried to form a minority government led by its leader, Dacian Ciolos.
The resulting friction has pushed the Black Sea state’s currency to a record low against the euro and complicated efforts to fight a spike in Covid-19 cases and deaths.
While a ruling alliance between the Liberals and their arch-rivals, the Social Democrats, may ease the crisis, it could also hamper planned reforms needed for Romania to tap its portion of funds from the European Union’s pandemic recovery stimulus.
But it may be a better option for the Liberals after their bust-up with USR. Complicating issues further, 14 Liberal lawmakers defected because of dispute with the party’s leaders.
“It’s a good thing that the premier designate decided to give up his mandate, and it’s a first step toward building a new majority,” USR leader Dacian Ciolos said on his Facebook page. “Now the Liberals have to decide with whom they want to form this majority.”
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