Romanian legislators topple PM Orban's government

Left-wing opposition succeeds in its no-confidence vote against centrist PM, raising possibility of early elections.

    Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban delivers his speech during a no-confidence vote initiated by the Social Democrat Party (PSD) at the Romanian Parliament in Bucharest on February 5, 2020 [Daniel Mihailescu/AFP]
    Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban delivers his speech during a no-confidence vote initiated by the Social Democrat Party (PSD) at the Romanian Parliament in Bucharest on February 5, 2020 [Daniel Mihailescu/AFP]

    Romanian legislators have toppled Prime Minister Ludovic Orban's centrist minority government in a no-confidence vote, raising the possibility of early elections.

    Opposition left-wing politicians brought Wednesday's no-confidence vote in parliament against Orban's minority government.

    More: 

    The Social Democrats (PSD) succeeded in achieving the minimum of 233 votes from a total of 465 MPs to topple the government - with 261 voting in favour of the motion.

    "The Orban government fell. It's a very big step for Romanian democracy," said Marcel Ciolacu, leader of the opposition Social Democrats (PSD), which had launched the motion.

    The move was triggered by Orban's announcement that he would try to change the law for local elections.

    The PSD was vehemently opposed because it saw the move as a threat to their chances of success in local elections due in June.

    "A parliament dominated by retrogressive forces, which walked all over democracy, today decided the collapse of the government I lead," Orban told reporters after the vote.

    Ironically, Orban may actually benefit from a no-confidence vote if it does lead to early national elections, because his party is currently enjoying large leads of more than 20 percent in the polls.

    President Klaus Iohannis must now appoint a new prime minister who in turn must try to assemble a parliamentary majority.

    According to the country's constitution, the president can only dissolve the parliament after two failed attempts to install a new executive within 60 days.

    Romania has not held a snap election since the fall of Communism 30 years ago.

    SOURCE: News agencies