Romania to get a government for Christmas

File photo. Florin Citu arrives for a meeting of the National Political Bureau of the PNL, held at the Parliament Palace in Bucharest, Romania, 30 October 2019. Citu was nominated by Romania's President Klaus Iohannis on 26 February 2020 to form a new cabinet. [Robert Ghement/EPA/EFE]

Three Romanian centre-right parties signed a coalition agreement for a future government led by ex-banker Florin Cîțu, following the results of parliamentary elections held 6 December, party representatives announced Monday (21 December).

“We want to quickly give Romania a government that leads reforms aimed at increasing the quality of life and modernising the country”, Ludovic Orban, chief of the liberal PNL party, said on Monday.

If the deal is approved by parliament, it will see PNL govern alongside the newly formed USR-PLUS alliance and UDMR, the party representing the country’s Hungarian minority.

Cîțu, the parties’ pick for prime minister, will have to be formally nominated by president Klaus Iohannis who has already said he won’t stand in the way of the proposal.

Iohannis will hold a second round of consultations with the parliamentary parties on Tuesday before making his announcement.

A US-educated banker, 48-year-old Cîțu has been a liberal senator since 2016 and has served as finance minister for the past year.

“We will have stable, long-term governance, focused on the citizen’s interests,” said Cîțu, who said he hoped for quick approval of his government in order to prepare the country’s budget for 2021.

Besides the budget, his government will have to organise the coronavirus vaccination campaign and work on reforms to revitalise an economy badly hit by the pandemic.

The European Union on Monday gave the green light for inoculations with the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to begin in all 27 EU nations after Christmas.

General elections earlier this month resulted in a fragmented parliament, with the liberals, seen as favourites, coming in second with 25%, compared to 29% for the left-wing Social Democratic Party (PSD).

Tight results in Romanian parliamentary election marked by low turnout

Both the social-democrats from the PSD and the centre-right governing party PNL claimed victory in Sunday’s parliamentary election, with exit polls showing the two parties going head to head, with about 30% each.

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But Iohannis snubbed the PSD and had made clear his preference for a PNL-led government, with the three centre-right parties in parliament totalling 244 MPs, above the 233 threshold for a majority in the 465-seat legislature.

Dan Barna, chief of USR-PLUS, described the parties’ agreement as “a responsible compromise for Romania’s future”, adding that he hoped the new government would be sworn in before Christmas.

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