Romanian Liberals Propose Minority Government to End Crisis
(Bloomberg) -- A request by Romania’s Liberal Party for its rivals to back a minority government looked set for failure -- prolonging the political uncertainty that’s gripped the eastern European country for weeks.
The effort is a bid to install a more effective cabinet than the current caretaker setup, at least for a few months, so officials can better tackle an unprecedented wave Covid-19. The collapse of the earlier Liberal-led coalition sent the leu to a record low.
But the opposition Social Democrats said Tuesday that they’d only play ball if a long list of conditions was met. The Liberals’ former partners, meanwhile -- the anti-corruption USR Plus party -- said they’d prefer to restore the previous ruling alliance.
After failing to secure majority support for a government after five days of talks, Prime Minister-designate Nicolae Ciuca appealed in writing to the Social Democrats and USR, citing the urgent need for a permanent administration as coronavirus infections and deaths break new daily records.
An agreement with the Social Democrats will be tough, however, after they set 10 conditions including some for higher state spending in response. The steps could jeopardize the Liberals’ pledges to curb the budget deficit.
Lives on the Line
USR said a minority cabinet would be too unstable, according to party leader Dacian Ciolos, whose own bid to lead a government without majority backing failed last week.
Ciuca has until Sunday to submit a cabinet for parliamentary approval.
“We can resume talks on a future governing coalition once we get through the winter and the current health crisis,” Liberal Party leader Florin Citu said. “We can’t afford to play games with the citizens’ lives anymore.”
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