For Romanian President Klaus Iohannis who was elected on an anti-corruption ticket last November, the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta has been too long in coming.
Last September Ponta became the first sitting Romanian prime minister to go on trial for corruption was already under pressure to quit from the opposition Liberals as well as the president who was their former leader.
The president is to start consulting political parties today to replace Ponta. But his Social Democratic Party (PSD) will likely remain in the existing coalition until parliamentary elections which are not due until December 2016.
Ponta’s departure might lead to a political realignment, although the coalition of three mainly leftist parties that form a majority in parliament have shown no signs of splitting. In fact one of the junior ruling coalition parties, the UNPR, has already given its backing to the existing power-sharing government.
Early elections appear unlikely, but still possible. They can only be triggered if parliament rejects two prime ministerial nominations in confidence votes within 60 days of the first one. No such snap poll has been held since the 1989 fall of communism.