PM-designate Ciolos holds inconclusive coalition talks with party heads

After the meeting between Citu, Ciolos and UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor, the three leaders said there were no negotiations but talks to set expectations. [EPA/Valda Kalnina]

Prime minister-designate Dacian Ciolos met on Wednesday the chiefs of the parties that could form the next government coalition.

The meeting was the first since the no-confidence vote that brought the government down last week. The talks led to no conclusive result beyond the promise of another meeting on Friday.

Ciolos, the leader of USR, is trying to form a new government with the centre-right PNL and the ethnic Hungarian party UDMR. The three parties formed the coalition that collapsed because USR was irritated by the decision of prime minister Florin Citu to dismiss one of its ministers. Later, USR supported a censure motion against the government despite saying it still wants to stay in the coalition, but with a different prime minister.

However, Florin Citu has the support of PNL, as members voted him to be the new party president and of President Klaus Iohannis. The latter criticised USR for voting to bring down the government.

Despite this, Iohannis designated Ciolos to form the government, which many analysts viewed as a trap for a potential presidential candidate in 2024. Ciolos has little to no chance of gaining support for his Cabinet.

Ciolos played down these comments, saying he is only interested in coming up with a credible governing program and team. But his potential partners from PNL and UDMR do not seem very enthusiastic about working with him.

After the meeting between Citu, Ciolos and UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor, the three leaders said there were no negotiations but talks to set expectations. Citu insisted that it is up to those who brought down the government – i.e USR, together with opposition parties PSD and AUR – to find a solution for the future government. Ciolos said no decision was taken, but all three leaders will discuss the situation with their respective party leaders and meet again on Friday.

Ciolos has 10 days to develop a proposal for a governing programme and a team of ministers.

(Bogdan Neagu | EURACTIV.ro)

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