Romania’s center-right ruling coalition collapsed after lawmakers voted to overthrow Prime Minister Florin Cîțu’s government.
The opposition center-left Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the far-right Alliance for Romanian Unity (AUR) jointly supported the motion of censure by former coalition members of the Union to Save Romania (USR, formerly known as USR-PLUS).
The collapse of the government could lead to early elections in Romania, triggered when a prime minister and his cabinet are rejected by MPs twice in a row. That could take months and leave the country in limbo. The PSD has called for an early election.
Cîțu said “all options remain on the table,” including his whereabouts, to lead a minority government that would have drastically limited powers compared to one supported by a majority of lawmakers.
“That is an absurd proposal,” said Cîțu of the parliamentary vote. “Kafka would be proud,” he added, referring to the USR’s decision to side with the opposition to the government in which it was involved.
The coalition collapsed last month when the reformist CTR withdrew its ministers from the government over disagreements over a local development spending plan and judicial reforms.
ROMANIA NATIONAL PARLIAMENT ELECTION POLL
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Dacian Cioloş, who was named the new leader of the USR this week, will apply to replace Cîțu. But given the party’s junior status in the former coalition, USR insiders said in televised statements that they would accept a nomination for the Prime Minister from the National Liberal Party. The list of acceptable liberal candidates does not include Cîțu, who, according to USR Vice President Dan Barna, “lacks the professional and human qualities that are needed to lead a Romanian government”.
The political crisis is worsening Romania’s suffering, which includes a deadly fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Romanian health system is unable to meet the demand for intensive care beds as only about a third of adults have received the COVID-19 vaccine, and officials are considering making a formal request to other countries to accept coronavirus patients.
Meanwhile, the rise in energy prices in Europe has also hit Romania, generating high inflation and fears about the cost of living.