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Romania: Prime Minister To Announce Replacement Ministers

Bucharest, 29 January 1998 (RFE/RL) - Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea says he will name replacements by Monday for five Social Democrat ministers who walked out of his centrist coalition cabinet. Early today, the Social Democrats pulled out of the government but pledged to support a new coalition committed to faster market reforms. The new cabinet will be dominated by Ciorbea's Christian Democrats, with Liberals and ethnic Hungarians as junior partners. With continued Social Democratic support, it would still command a majority in parliament.

Ciorbea told state radio he expects parliament to endorse the new appointments next Tuesday.

President Emil Constantinescu has released a joint communique signed by the representatives of all parties in the ruling coalition. The parties agree to cooperate politically, accelerate reform, and ensure the coalition functions well. Romanian radio says the accord will be signed before Parliament reconvenes on Monday. The presidential communique says the parties agreed to refrain from public declarations that could cause tension in the coalition.

Romanian reports say it appears recently appointed Foreign Minister Andrei Plesu will stay in the government. Plesu is not a member of the Democratic Party, but came into the government under one of the portfolios assigned the Democratic Party. Among the others leaving the government is Defense Minister Victor Babiuc, a deputy leader of the Democratic Party. Romanian reports say Constantinescu had personally asked Plesu and Babiuc to remain in the government.