Romania’s president has nominated a European Union veteran to serve as prime minister, after a no-confidence vote plunged one of Europe’s poorest countries into political turmoil.
Dacian Ciolos, a former EU agriculture commissioner who had served as prime minister, took opponents by surprise when he was nominated by President Klaus Iohannis on Monday.
To take office, he will need the support of a majority in parliament, which will be no easy feat in a fragmented political landscape.
“Our goal is to pull Romania out of crisis and for this we need a lot of responsibility from all political forces,” Ciolos said.
Romania plunged into turmoil last week when the nine-month-old minority government of Prime Minister Florin Citu lost a no-confidence vote in parliament, weeks after a coalition ally walked out of his government accusing him of having a “dictatorial attitude”.
Ciolos’s reformist Save Romania Union (USR) stripped Citu of a parliamentary majority by withdrawing its ministers. It then filed a no-confidence motion, refusing to return to the government until Citu was toppled.
Citu is still trying to form a new coalition based around his National Liberal Party (PNL) party, complicating efforts by his opponents to steer through the crisis with new leadership.
President Iohannis told reporters on Monday that Ciolos’s party “was the sole party who has made a proposal to me” during parliamentary consultations.
The USR, which controls only 17 percent of parliament’s seats, will have 10 days to form a government and ask parliament for a vote of confidence.
Opposition groupings have so far said they will not back a minority cabinet nor enter an alliance with USR, a relatively new grouping.
Romania’s political paralysis is threatening its economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to reduce large twin deficits at a time of rising energy prices.