Romania PM urges partners to stay united in coalition crisis talks

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Romania’s Prime Minister Florin Citu was due to hold crisis talks with his coalition partners on Friday, urging them to stay united to rebuild the economy after the coronavirus pandemic despite a row over the sacking of the justice minister.

The USR-Plus, a junior ally to Citu’s Liberals, has begun gathering signatures for a no-confidence vote in parliament after its minister, Stelian Ion, was dismissed when the party opposed a local infrastructure development funding scheme.

A rupture in the centrist coalition, which also includes an ethnic Hungarians group, could endanger an ambitious agenda to reduce Romania’s budget and current account deficits.

“Only this (three-party) coalition is feasible for Romania. It’s that political setup that can handle European Union’s recovery plan, our local development, and make use of EU money,” Citu said after an emergency meeting of his Liberal Party.

“This is my message for the coalition talks later today. We have all promised Romania’s investments.”

The three parties were due to hold a meeting to discuss their cooperation from 1500 GMT.

To oust Citu’s cabinet, the USR-Plus would need to work with the opposition Social Democrats, who it previously clashed with over attempts to dilute the rule of law.

Citu, a relative newcomer but backed by centrist President Klaus Iohannis, hopes to win the Liberal Party leadership in an internal election this month.

Photo: Romania’s Prime Minister Florin Citu – EC Audiovisual Service