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Romania's President Asks Quarantined Caretaker PM To Form New Government

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis (left) and caretaker Prime Minister Ludovic Orban (file photo)

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has asked quarantined caretaker Prime Minister Ludovic Orban to try to form a new government after opposition parties indicated that they would back him.

Orban, who is the leader of the National Liberal Party (PNL), lost a confidence vote in parliament last month.

Iohannis said he held talks with political parties by teleconference because Orban's entire caretaker government has self-isolated since a PNL lawmaker was confirmed to be infected with the new coronavirus at the center of a deadly pandemic.

Romanian media quoted sources as saying Orban tested negative for the virus, which can lead to the pneumonia-like COVID-19 illness.

Iohannis said all party officials assured him that a new Orban government would be approved and sworn in in record time, possibly as soon as March 14.

Orban told a news conference at parliament earlier on March 13 that he would be quarantined in a state-owned villa, communicating with the ministers, who are self-isolated at home, by phone and e-mail.

The PNL leadership and all its senators have also been asked to self-isolate.

Orban's 3-month-old center-right minority government was ousted in a no-confidence motion on February 5 and has remained in a caretaker role. Orban's cabinet replaced a leftist government beset by corruption scandals.

Local elections are due in late spring or early summer, and parliamentary polls should be held later this year but could take place earlier if efforts to form a new government continue to fail.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL's Romanian Service,,, and AP