BUCHAREST – 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.
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 COVID-19 infections.
Parliamentary committees decided on Saturday to hold the confidence vote on Wednesday, with parliamentary hearings of cabinet ministers due the day before.
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 UDMR ministers, which jointly control 163 parliament seats, 71 seats short of a majority.
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.
A previous Liberal-led coalition unravelled last month after the centrist USR, a relatively new grouping, withdrew its ministers in a row over a regional development fund, stripping the government of a parliamentary majority.
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.
A fresh nomination for premier from Iohannis might occur as early as next week, pundits say.