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

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

FILE PHOTO: Romania's new Prime minister-designate Nicolae Ciuca, a retired four-star army general, delivers a press statement alongside Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, in Bucharest, Romania October 21, 2021. George Calin/Inquam Photos via REUTERS/File Photo

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.

Source: Reuters

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