Romanian president asks finance minister to lead center-right coalition government

Foto: INQUAM/Octav Ganea

Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis asked outgoing Finance Minister Florin Citu on Tuesday to lead a center-right coalition government able to boost investor confidence and manage the economy which has been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Liberals, who have ruled as a minority government for the past year, will team up with the Save Romania Union-Plus and an ethnic Hungarian party to form a center-right coalition which has vowed to ‘modernize Romania.’

Party leaders said lawmakers could endorse the new cabinet on Wednesday. The coalition will control around 55% of seats.

The new government will be tasked with restoring investor confidence that has been dented by years of political instability and fiscal overspending.

It will need to tackle poor infrastructure and public services and a rickety healthcare system.

„Romania has a double crisis, a health one and economic one. It’s the government’s job to handle the health crisis with as few costs as possible for Romanians…… and to put the economy back on its feet,” he said.

” I will do everything possible to ensure a stable and long-lived government,” said Mr. Citu, a Western-educated banker after his appointment as prime minister-designate.

The Liberals and USR-Plus have pledged to roll back efforts by previous leftist-led governments to undermine the judiciary in its efforts to prosecute high-level corruption. Huge anti-graft protests have erupted in recent years.

The Liberals, to which Mr, Citu belongs are expected to hold half the ministerial seats in the 18-member cabinet. The USR-Plus will control six ministerial posts and the ethnic Hungarians, the remaining three.

Romania has reported almost  600,000 coronavirus cases and more than 14,600 deaths this year. Its economy is expected to shrink by 4.2% according to the World Bank.

Former Prime Minister Ludovic Orban resigned after it came a poor second in the  Dec. 6 vote. The opposition Socialist Democratic Party came first with about 30% of the votes but was unable to find coalition partners to form a government.


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