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Romania's New Center-Right Government Wins Confidence Vote

Updated

Prime Minister-designate Ludovic Orban's cabinet must survive a confidence vote in parliament on November 4.

Romania's new center-right government was sworn in by President Klaus Iohannis after winning a confidence vote in parliament on November 4 following the collapse last month of the leftist Social Democrat (PSD) government.

Prime Minister Ludovic Orban's new government "passed with 240 votes," an official announcement said, surpassing by seven votes the minimum of 233 votes required to replace the outgoing Socialist cabinet of Viorica Dancila.

Orban, 56, and his centrist government have announced objectives that include trimming government bureaucracy, infrastructure investments, recalibrating economic measures, and ensuring an independent justice system.

The latter policy objective is partly what led to the previous government, led by former Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, collapsing.

A vote of no confidence in her government took place on October 10 after unpopular changes that were made to the judicial system that weakened the rule of law sparked massive street protests.

The former Social Democrat Party (PSD) leader, Liviu Dragnea, had also been sentenced to prison for abuse of office.

Orban and his 16-member cabinet were sworn in before Iohannis during a ceremony at the Cotroceni Palace in Bucharest later on November 4.

Iohannis said during the ceremony that the toppling of the PSD government was made possible by a wave of public discontent with Dragnea and Dancila's moves against the judiciary and the overwhelming defeat that Romanians handed the PSD at the vote for the European Parliament in May.

The swearing-in of a new government also unlocks the country's European commissioner nominating process.

Orban said immediately after the vote that he will propose a European commissioner after talks with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and will announce a decision as soon as possible.

The new European Commission team had been due to take over on November 1, but political wrangling in Romania prevented Bucharest from nominating a viable commissioner.

Several proposals the Social Democrats made for European Commissioner had been rejected for various reasons, including conflicts of interests. Each EU member state gets one representative on the commission -- the European Union's executive arm.

Romania holds a presidential election on November 10, with a possible runoff on November 24, and is scheduled to hold local and parliamentary elections next spring and autumn. Opinion polls indicate that centrist Iohannis is the favorite to win a second five-year term.

With reporting by g4media.ro, digi24.ro, Euractiv, Euronews, Reuters, and AFP
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