Florin Cîţu has been expelled from government following a no-confidence motion, fuelling what is an already a political crisis.
The motion was filed by PSD (Social Democratic Party), who was specifically targeted by Florin Cîţu after he recently secured his party, PNL’s leadership in the internal elections. Even at that time, there were concerns that unless he could win over various other parties, that there would be a vote of no confidence, threatening his position as Prime Minister.
The vote of no-confidence was supported by former coalition partner, USR-Plus and the far-right AUR party, who are a right-wing populist and nationalist political party currently active in Romania and Moldova.
The fall of the government crowns what has been a political crisis, which began around one month ago, when the then Prime Minister fired Stelian Ion, a justice minister and USR-Plus member, for not signing off a regional development program, a move described by the party as an “abusive revocation”, prompting to them to leave the three-party cabinet.
“A team of incompetents”
There were debates in parliament on Tuesday, ahead of the vote, where Florin Cîţu had lashed out at USR-Plus, calling them a “team of incompetents”.
What happens next?
Florin Cîţu will remain as Prime Minister for the next 45 days, whilst President Klaus Iohannis, will be required to consult lawmakers on appointing a new prime minister. In the event that lawmakers fail to agree on a new prime minister, then Florin Cîţu could be re-appointed.
The Associated Press reported that Claudiu Tufis, an associate professor of political science at the University of Bucharest, expects there to be a Liberal cabinet, with support from the Social Democrats. USR have expressed that they wish to restore the original coalition, but with a different prime minister.
This political struggle, comes as the country continues to battle what has been the highest number of daily new COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started, raising concerns that this will distract government officials from tackling the pandemic, which is already putting hospitals under significant strain.
More Drama in Romanian Politics
There have been 11 different prime ministers in Romania since 2015, which has some of the most unstable politics in Europe, with a constant and on-going power struggle between parties and multiple allegations of corruption.
According to a study conducted by Transparency International, the Romanian government was voted to be one of the most under-performing governments in the EU, with 51! of Romanians thinking that most or of their MPs are corrupt and consistently show the lowest levels of trust in institutions, compared to other EU countries.
Unfortunately, during the same study, Romania was the only EU member who has a slim majority (53%) who said that they would accept some government corruption.