Romania’s planned centre-right coalition under threat as would-be allies accuse each other of betrayal
The potential center-right coalition between Romania's ruling National Liberal Party (PNL) and reformist USR-PLUS alliance, expected to form the new Government after the December 6 elections, is under threat due to mounting tensions between the two sides.
USR deputy president Catalin Drula conditioned, although in an informal Facebook post, his party's alliance with the Liberals, on a new prime minister - other than current PM Ludovic Orban.
Drula also criticized some Liberal leaders, such as the vocal MP Florin Roman, who previously entered a verbal conflict with USR representatives.
In a public statement on the same day, president Klaus Iohannis - still the National Liberal Party's informal leader - touched the center-right coalition issue insisting that PM Ludovic Orban would maintain his position after the December 6 elections.
Iohannis played down the conflict between USR and PNL, arguing that this would favor the Social Democratic Party - the two center-right parties' common rival. And yet, the tensions between USR and PNL are gaining momentum.
An incident on October 20, when MPs of one of the two parties (or of both parties) supported the election of a Social Democrat at the head of the Legislative Council, fueled the conflict.
PNL and USR accused each other of betrayal and secret deals with PSD. Specifically, the Liberals accused USR of having supported Iordache against Liberals' candidate Augustin Zegrean to get PSD's support for USR candidate George Dirca appointment as deputy head of the Legislative Council.
In its turn, USR accused a failed deal between PNL and PSD, ruined by Zegrean, who withdrew his candidacy from the position eventually won by the USR representative.
Only 36 of the 113 PNL MPs and only 21 of 37 USR MPs attended the vote. PSD's candidate Florin Iordache won the position with 185 votes out of 228 MPs attending the voting. Out of the 225 MPs who voted, 142 were Social Democrats, 21 USR members, and 36 Liberals.
Both PNL and USR will Challenge Iordaches' appointment at the Constitutional Court. The Social Democrat candidate is not appropriate to head the Legislative Council, given that he drafted the infamous emergency ordinance OUG 13 for changing the justice laws and criminal codes, which prompted massive protests in Romania in early 2017, argued the head of the Liberal deputies Florin Roman.
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