Romania’s Prime Minister-designate Dacian Ciolos failed to win a parliamentary vote of confidence on Wednesday for his centrist minority government.
The move, which was widely expected, prolongs a political stalemate at a time of rising Covid-19 infections and energy price hikes.
Mr Ciolos Cabinet won 88 votes, far short of the 234 votes needed for approval.
Romania has been in state of political paralysis since October 5 when Parliament dismissed a Liberal-led minority government in a no-confidence vote.
The uncertainty complicates efforts to handle the health crisis and deal with consumer concerns about inflation and energy prices ahead of winter.
President Klaus Iohannis called the surge in cases and deaths „a catatrsophe” earlier this month.
The president now needs to make a second nomination for prime minister after consulting with political parties which have seats in parliament.
He is most likely to pick someone from the Liberal party, which he was chairman of before becoming president in 2014.
Under the constitution, if his second nomination fails, the president dissolves parliament and early elections are called. Romania has never held snap elections since the end of communism when one-party rule ended and it began democratic reforms.
Mr Ciolos, served as prime minister of a technocrat government for 14 months starting in November 2015. He heads the centrist Save Romania Union.
The president has urged Romania’s politicians to end bickering and find a consensus for a new government ahead of winter.
After talks with political parties earlier this month, he said there was cross-party agreement on the main challenges facing the country: the pandemic, energy price hikes and the EU recovery fund.