| 5 February 2023, Sunday |

Romania’s Liberals, rival leftists pledge to have new cabinet by Nov. 25

Romania’s ruling Liberals and their longtime adversaries, the leftist Social Democrats, will establish a coalition government within a week, party officials declared on Thursday, despite the fact that key appointments have still to be agreed upon.

The European Union state has been in policy stagnation since a centrist coalition fractured in September after less than a year in power, endangering economic recovery in the midst of the deadliest COVID-19 wave since the pandemic’s inception.

The two parties agreed earlier this week to alternate prime ministers every six months until a general election in 2024. However, they were still to decide which party would go first on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, the Liberals decided to support interim defense minister and retired army general Nicolae Ciuca as their proposed prime minister instead of party leader Florin Citu, eliminating a stumbling block in the negotiations.

The Social Democrats (PSD) repeatedly said they would not back a government led by Citu, whose cabinet failed a no-confidence vote in parliament on Oct. 5.

Ciuca said the two parties and their junior partner ethnic Hungarian party UDMR will decide on Friday who gets the first rotation. PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu said a new cabinet will be approved by Nov. 25.

Ciolacu also said the party with the first prime minister cannot also hold the finance portfolio. The number of ministries allotted to each party will be determined by parliament seats, which favours PSD, the biggest party in the legislature.

But the parties, which were bitter foes in a 2020 general election, had yet to agree on key policy items including taxation, judicial reforms and the scope of wage, pension and child benefit hikes.

  • Reuters