On Monday, three pro-European centre-right parties sealed an agreement in Romania aimed at forming a government with economist Florin Citu as Prime Minister.
It came after the country held parliamentary elections on December 6.
Former Prime Minister, Ludovic Orban, Leader of the National Liberal Party (PNL) who resigned after his party received 25% of the votes said: “We want to quickly give Romania a government that pursues reforms which can modernize the country.”
PNL will form a coalition with two other parties: the USR-Plus and the Magyar Minority Party (UDMR).
The new coalition also said it will put forward current Minister of Finance Florin Citu to become the next prime minister.
“I am sure that it will be a stable, long-term government, devoted to the interests of the citizens,” Citu said.
It is expected that Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis will soon ratify the new prime minister’s appointment. This would allow Citu to ask for a vote of confidence in parliament before the end of the year.
The Romanian government is trying to move fast with the COVID-19 vaccination campaign scheduled for kick-off on December 27th. There are more challenges ahead for the new government: It has to vote on the 2021 draft budget and implement reforms to revive the economy.
All in all, the coalition will have 244 seats out of a total of 465 in both houses of parliament. The parties will also be able to count on the support of the 18 elected representatives of the other minority parties.
PNL was widely expected to win the elections but was beaten by the Social Democrats (PSD) who received 30% of the votes. However, without any coalition partners, the PSD had to hand control over to the centre-right parties to form a government.
Surprising election result
Many were surprised at the parliamentary election result in Romania, which saw a far-right populist party the Alliance for Romanian Unity (AUR) take 9% of the votes.
The party was only formed in autumn last year and, for many, came out of nowhere, passing the 5% threshold and entering parliament.
Overall turnout represented a historic low at less than 32%, in part due to voter apathy but also due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.