Romania’s government faces confidence vote after ministers resign from coalition

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Romania’s government is facing a vote of confidence after the country’s ruling coalition formally collapsed.

Six ministers from the second-largest party in the coalition, USR-PLUS, resigned from the bloc on Monday.

The reformist party has been increasing the pressure on Romanian Prime Minister Florin Cîțu for several days and has called for him to resign.

The dispute reached a climax last week when Cîțu dismissed the USR-PLUS Justice Minister, drawing anger from the coalition.

The Romanian PM recently unveiled a new proposal to provide local governments with €10 billion to upgrade infrastructure.

But the plans were rejected by USR-PLUS, who saw the scheme as a “siphoning” of public funds and an attempt to win the support of local mayors.

After Justice Minister Stelian Ion blocked the investment project, he was removed by the PM last Wednesday.

In addition to the resignations, USR-PLUS has also tabled a motion of censure against the Romanian government, although a procedural flaw could delay the vote.

“Florin Citu knowingly dynamited the ruling coalition and can no longer be prime minister,” Dan Barna, co-president of the party, said at a press conference.

USR-PLUS say that Cîțu’s Liberal party (PNL) must nominate a new Prime Minister, or risk a vote of confidence in Romania’s Parliament.

Cîțu meanwhile has called for fresh “dialogue” and stated that “only a centre-right coalition can lead Romania”. The PM has previously faced a motion of confidence in June over his policy on pensions.

USR-PLUS currently holds only 80 seats in both houses of parliament and would require significant support to achieve the necessary 234 votes for a motion of confidence.

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The opposition Social Democratic party, which has the largest number of MPs, has so far “ruled out” voting for a new government led by a liberal.

“The only way out of this crisis is to call early elections,” the party’s president, Marcel Ciolacu, told AFP.

But the third-largest party in the coalition, the Magyar minority party UDMR, has reiterated its support for Cîțu and the PNL.

If the Romanian government is toppled, the country’s President Klaus Iohannis must appoint a new prime minister to find a majority.

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