Romania’s new cabinet fails confidence vote in Parliament

Dacian Ciolos (left), new chairman of the Save Romania Union (USR), and Stephane Sejourne (right), Member of the European Parliament, pose as they arrive prior to a meeting with French President at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Sept 6, 2021. (LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP)

BUCHAREST – Romania's Prime Minister-designate Dacian Ciolos failed on Wednesday to secure majority support in Parliament for his new cabinet proposal.

As expected, his cabinet lineup was supported by only 88 deputies and senators, most of them from the center-right Save Romania Union led by Ciolos. A minimum of 234 votes in the bicameral Parliament with over 460 seats were needed for Ciolos's proposal to pass.

President Klaus Iohannis last Monday proposed 52-year-old Dacian Ciolos as a candidate to form a new government after the center-right coalition led by Florin Citu was toppled in a no-confidence vote

"Through the irresponsible vote against the USR cabinet, lawmakers rejected the only solution for Romania to have a functional government today and decided that it is more important to prolong the political crisis than to solve the health crisis," with the USR, which holds 80 seats in Parliament, said on social media.

President Klaus Iohannis last Monday proposed 52-year-old Ciolos as a candidate to form a new government after the center-right coalition led by Florin Citu was toppled in a no-confidence vote. The USR's withdrawal from the three-party coalition, amid rows with the prime minister, caused the eventual collapse of Citu's cabinet.

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Ciolos, former prime minister between November 2015 and January 2017, presented on Monday his pick for the new cabinet made up entirely of USR members, as he lacks the support of the two largest parties, the National Liberal Party (PNL) led by Citu and the Social Democratic Party (PSD), as well as most of the other smaller groups in Parliament.

The ball is now back in Iohannis's court, who will have to nominate another candidate to replace Citu.

Local analysts believe that the president will bow pick a PNL candidate.

"The solution for Romania … is the restoration of the USR-PNL-UDMR (Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania) coalition," the USR said after the vote in Parliament. Meanwhile, the party insisted on its position of supporting any PNL prime minister other than the incumbent.

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The current situation is bound to extend the period of political uncertainty in the country, affecting its efforts to fight the epidemic and respond to the economic challenges, local analysts said.