Romania’s ruling Liberals began negotiations with their Social Democrat rivals on Tuesday to form a new parliamentary majority, after more than a month of political deadlock.
The Liberals said late Monday they had decided to form an alliance with the Social Democrats, the biggest party in Parliament “to overcome political and health crises.”
Romania is grappling with a deadly fourth wave of Covid-19 infections and rising energy prices. The Liberals said they wanted to “ensure Romania has the stability” it needs.
The former Liberal-led centrist coalition collapsed in September after a junior party walked out after one of its ministers was sacked. Prime Minister Florin Citu then lost a confidence vote in Parliament. Two subsequent attempts to form a government after that have failed, prolonging the crisis.
The new coalition will also include an ethnic Hungarian party, the UDMR.
The formation of a new government will likely take until the end of the month. The two ideologically opposed parties seek to reach agreement on key issues and portfolios.
PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu on Tuesday said he „didn’t think” his party would allow the Liberals to hold the post of premier.
The Social Democrats, which have 23 more seats than the Liberals, want to increase pensions, child benefits and the minimum wage. Romania is struggling to reduce its budget deficit.
Negotiations will be further complicated as some Liberals do not support an alliance with their rivals. Former Liberal chairman Ludovic Orban called it „political suicide and a betrayal of the electorate.”
The Liberals came to power in 2019 when they toppled the Social Democrats in a confidence vote. They managed to hold to power in 2020 elections after they ran on an anti-corruption ticket.
The Social Democrats were blamed for weakening the fight against graft and the rule of law and straining relations with the EU.
President Klaus Iohannis, who retains control over the Liberal Party, designates a prime minister.