Romanian parliament OKs new interim minority government

New Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban prepares to address the lparliament during the validation vote session, in Bucharest on 4 November 2019. [EPA-EFE/ROBERT GHEMENT]

Romania’s parliament approved on Monday (4 November) a new transitional government led by centrist National Liberal Party leader Ludovic Orban (EPP-affiliated), which will be in office until an election next year.

The appointment – endorsed with 240 votes in favour, seven more than needed – is crucial for the EU to proceed with the formation of the new European Commission, as Romania is the only country to lack a Commissioner-designate and is delaying the whole process.

Romania’s previous Social Democrat government of Viorica Dăncilă collapsed in October after losing a no-confidence vote in parliament spearheaded by Orban’s PNL.

The new government will be sworn in later on Monday. One of its most pressing tasks is to propose a Commissioner pick, after Rovana Plumb was rejected by the European Parliament over a conflict of interest in September.

Romania relies on fifth time lucky with Commissioner pick

Bucharest’s fourth attempt to name a European Commissioner has  failed, after President-elect Ursula von der Leyen decided that Romania’s interim government did not have the right to nominate someone.

The new cabinet is a minority government, formed by Orban’s PNL but it secured the support of USR, UDMR, ALDE, PMP and deputies representing the national minorities. However, it also needed, and gained, support from a few members of left-wing parties, as Pro Romania and the former ruling PSD said they would boycott the vote.

225 members of parliament ultimately abstained from the ballot.

The government is expected to make its Commissioner proposal on Tuesday or Wednesday. EURACTIV was informed that MEP Siegfried Muresan (EPP) will most likely be proposed, and is certain to be approved by President Klaus Iohannis.

Orban, 56, is a former transport minister and the brother of Leonard Orban, Romania’s first EU Commissioner, who was given the multilingualism portfolio in the Barroso Commission.

Orban said his government’s main objectives include downsizing government structures, investment in key infrastructure projects and correcting economic measures that have hit the business sector.

He also said the focus will be given to “ensure real independence of the justice system”.

Romania’s President appoints Ludovic Orban as PM-designate

Romania’s centrist President Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday (15 October) he had appointed opposition Liberal Party leader Ludovic Orban as prime minister-designate to form a transitional government until a parliamentary election next year.

[Editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and Sam Morgan]

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