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Romania: Vasile Designated As Prime Minister

Bucharest, 2 April 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Radu Vasile was officially named prime minister-designate today by President Emil Constantinescu. Vasile was elected as the prime minister-designate last night in a vote by leaders of the National Peasants Party-Christian Democratic party and is expected to receive parliamentary approval. He has 10 days to form a new cabinet.

Constantinescu said the ruling parties, which are planning to form a new coalition, all supported Vasile. He succeeds Victor Ciorbea, who resigned on Monday after losing political support.

The Social Democratic Party has called for a reduction in the size of the cabinet, which currently numbers 28 posts, while the Christian Democrats are opposed to a reduction.

Also today, Vasile and Constantinescu met with NATO Secretary General Javier Solana to discuss Romania's role in southeastern Europe in the context of the post-Yugoslav crisis.

Solana said the current crisis in Serbia's Kosovo province does not speed up Romania's wish to join NATO.

Solana arrived in Bucharest yesterday and had talks today with the speakers of the two chambers of the parliament and with members of the foreign affairs committees.