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Romania's PM-designate seen losing confidence vote, prolonging political crisis

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By Reuters
Romania parliament endorses PM Ciuca's grand coalition government
Romania parliament endorses PM Ciuca's grand coalition government   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p><span class="caps">BUCHAREST</span> – A minority government lineup put forward by Romania’s centrist Prime Minister-designate Nicolae Ciuca will face a parliamentary vote of confidence next week, which he is widely expected to lose, further prolonging a month-long political stalemate.</p> <p>Romania has been in political paralysis since a Liberal-led government was toppled by parliament on Oct. 5, threatening economic recovery and efforts to cut big budget and external shortfalls at a time of rising <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 infections.</p> <p>Parliamentary committees decided on Saturday to hold the confidence vote on Wednesday, with parliamentary hearings of cabinet ministers due the day before.</p> <p>Retired army general Ciuca, 54, a Liberal serving as defence minister in the current caretaker government led by Florin Citu, has drafted a cabinet lineup made of his party and ethnic Hungarian <span class="caps">UDMR</span> ministers, which jointly control 163 parliament seats, 71 seats short of a majority.</p> <p>Analysts expect Ciuca to face a tough task convincing the fragmented legislature to back him, with the largest opposition group, the Social Democrats, saying they would only favour a cabinet made of technocrats instead of a minority setup.</p> <p>A previous Liberal-led coalition unravelled last month after the centrist <span class="caps">USR</span>, a relatively new grouping, withdrew its ministers in a row over a regional development fund, stripping the government of a parliamentary majority.</p> <p>If Ciuca fails to win next week’s confidence vote, President Klaus Iohannis can dissolve parliament and call a snap election – an unlikely scenario given current economic and health challenges.</p> <p>A fresh nomination for premier from Iohannis might occur as early as next week, pundits say. </p> <p/> </div>