Romanian PM resigns after failing to secure votes in polls

Prime Minister Ludovic Orban
Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban

Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban has announced his resignation after his ruling National Liberal Party (PNL) leads failed to secure a majority of the votes in the recently-held parliamentary elections.

President Klaus Iohannis accepted Orban’s resignation late Monday night and appointed Defence Minister Nicolae Ciuca as interim Prime Minister.

Orban’s resignation is generally seen as clearing the way for his party to negotiate a future ruling alliance with other political parties.

“The decision I took has an exact objective…the negotiations to follow must lead to a government formed by the center-right political formations to support Romania’s Euro-Atlantic orientation clearly,” Orban said in a televised statement after announcing his resignation.

According to the latest partial results announced by Romania’s Central Electoral Office on Monday evening, with over 96 percent votes counted, the Social Democrat Party leads the National Liberals by a decisive five percentage points.

Sunday’s elections show that the National Liberals have around 25 percent of votes, only next to the Social Democrats, who have secured about 30 percent.

The USR-PLUS Alliance was placed third with some 15 percent of votes.

For the time being, it is too early for either of the top rivals to call a victory.

Orban has decided to talk about forming a new coalition with other future parliamentary parties in the post-election period to secure the ruling, while the USR-PLUS Alliance has repeatedly emphasized that it is impossible to participate in a cabinet he leads.

Soon after Orban announced his resignation, the USR-PLUS Alliance said it would pick Dacian Ciolos, one of the two co-chairs of the alliance, as its premier for a future coalition government.

Romania held the parliamentary election on Sunday, with 7,136 candidates competing for about 329 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 136 seats in the Senate.

According to the latest partial results released by the Central Electoral Bureau, the Social Democratic Party has won the parliamentary election with 30.13 percent of the Senate’s votes and 29.69 percent for the Chamber of Deputies.

The PNL came second by garnering 25.58 percent and 25.18 percent, respectively, for Parliament’s two chambers.

Other parties to enter the new Parliament include the USR-PLUS Alliance with 15.24 and 14.75 percent, the Alliance for Unity of Romanians with 8.77 and 8.69 percent, and the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, with 6.13 and 5.98 percent.

The partial results show that no party is likely to win more than 50 percent of the votes to hold the majority in the future Parliament.

Thus, the future government will almost certainly be a coalition.

Under Romania’s law, Orban’s cabinet will remain in office for at most 45 days as a caretaker administration led by Ciuca before a new government replaces it.

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