Romanian lawmakers endorse ‘grand coalition’ government, ending monthslong political stalemate

Foto: INQUAM/Octav ganea

Romanian lawmakers on Thursday endorsed the coalition government of Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca by an overwhelming majority ending a two-month political stalemate.

The parliament voted 318-126 in favor of the cabinet led by Mr. Ciuca of the center-right Liberal Party.  The minimum number of votes for the government to be approved was 234.

Nicolae Ciuca

President Klaus Iohannis nominated acting Defense Minister Nicolae Ciuca, a 54-year-old retired army general, as prime minister-designate, to end the political deadlock.

Mr. Ciuca will lead a coalition government composed of the ruling Liberals, the Social Democratic Party and the ethnic Hungarian group, the UDMR.

”I understand that we have a very big responsibility and I understand the recommendations of the opposition,” he said using a conciliatory tone to a former junior partner which left the former ruling coalition. “Please let us get to work.”

Budget deficit

The prime minister will hold a cabinet meeting on Friday to discuss rectification of the budget deficit. He said there was enough money to pay pensions and state sector salaries.

Romania was plunged into political paralysis when the Liberal-led centrist coalition government lost its majority in September. The crisis threatened economic recovery and the fight against a deadly fourth wave of Covid-19.

The coalition will rotate premiers every 18 months. The Social Democrats will hold the  finance, agriculture, defense and transport ministries. The Liberals will be in  charge of as justice, energy, home and foreign affairs.

Flat tax

The coalition has agreed to keep unchanged the flat income and profit tax and decided to raise pensions by 10% next year and hike child benefits.

The Liberals nominally head the coalition, but the left-leaning Social Democrats are likely to have hold sway control as they have the most seats in Parliament. The two parties may fall out over reforms to the judiciary.

Romania, which has the second-lowest vaccination rate in the European Union, has been battling a surge in new Covid-19 cases and deaths. New cases have fallen, but daily deaths still stand in their hundreds.

Romania’s PM-elect promises to keep flat tax, opposes tax hikes, push population growth


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