Virus Snarls Romania’s Search for a Government as Cases Rise

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(Bloomberg) --

Romania’s president again asked Ludovic Orban to form a new government, although the process face hurdles after the premier announced he is heading into quarantine due to the coronavirus.

Orban, an ally of President Klaus Iohannis, said he and other ministers from his interim cabinet would self-isolate after two lawmakers from his party tested positive for COVID-19. Iohannis announced Orban’s nomination in a statement on Friday.

The quarantine is a new twist in an already chaotic week in Romania and Europe as a whole. The Black Sea nation now has 71 confirmed cases of coronavirus and officials have shut schools and suspended flights from Italy. The major concern is that more than 1 million Romanians living there may return home for Easter.

“I will be isolated but I will be able to continue to coordinate the government and approve all the measures needed to fight the virus,” said Orban, who’s ruling in a caretaker capacity after his minority administration lost a confidence motion last month.

Orban’s party had been pushing to trigger early elections but abandoned that plan in favor of seeking a new parliamentary majority for an administration to fight the outbreak and stay in power until regularly scheduled general elections in the fall.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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