Romania PM Citu left without majority after junior party quits coalition

Foto: INQUAM/George Călin

Romania’s Prime Minister Florin Citu was left without a majority in parliament after ministers from a junior partner quit the ruling coalition on Tuesday.

The three-party coalition, headed by the Liberals, together with an ethnic Hungarian group and the USR-Plus, splintered over a 50-billion lei (about 10 billion-euro) spending plan for local mayors.

The junior USR-Plus refused to sign off on the plan. Premier Citu, a Liberal, fired the USR justice minister last week.

On Tuesday, the party’s remaining six ministers and the head of the prime minister’s chancellery handed in their resignations.

The 10 billion-euro program funding program for infrastructure in local communities was approved by the government on Sept. 3 after the justice minister was fired.

USR said the program was a tool to win support from powerful local politicians to back the prime minister in a party leadership race later this month.

USR then joined forces with a far-right party to topple the government. However, it doesn’t have enough votes and needs support from the Social Democrats, the main opposition party. It is unclear whether the Social Democrats will back the motion.

It is also unclear whether the prime minister will actually face a confidence vote as the motion needs to be tabled.

The governing coalition has a slim majority. USR-Plus leader Dan Barna said the party was prepared to stay in the coalition but without the current premier.

He said the party had gathered 122 signatures for a no-confidence vote with the help of the Alliance for the Union of Romanians, a nationalist party.

Mr. Citu, a former banker, faces current party leader Ludovic Orban in a Sept. 27 leadership race.

The prime minister, who formerly served as finance minister is backed by President Klaus Iohannis, a centrist. The president is the most powerful political player in Romania.

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