RO Liberals seek coalition partner to form new Government
Romania’s National Liberal Party (PNL) is looking to form a new ruling coalition either with their former allies – the reformist party USR – or with their former adversaries – the Social Democrats (PSD) – to put an end to the political crisis that started in September when the former center-right coalition broke.
Liberal leader and dismissed prime minister Florin Citu met with USR president Dacian Ciolos on Wednesday, November 3, to discuss what it would take to patch things up with the former coalition partners.
After the talks, Citu said he was optimistic and that “there are high chances” to build back the coalition, News.ro reported. He added that the talks were “group therapy.”
Meanwhile, Dacian Ciolos was more reserved and suggested that the Liberals should also talk to the Social Democrats and then decide on their future partners.
“I won’t believe it until I see it,” Ciolos said about the perspective of remaking the coalition with the Liberals.
While both Citu and Ciolos said they didn’t discuss who the next prime minister should be, USR is not willing to be part of a new cabinet led by the Liberal leader Florin Citu.
The political crisis that started in September was sparked by Citu’s decision to dismiss USR’s justice minister Stelian Ion. After that, USR pulled out of the Government and supported a no-confidence motion against PM Citu.
It remains to be seen if the two parties are willing to move past their recent disagreements, considering that they are still running digital campaigns against each other on the internet.
At the same time, a new coalition between PNL, USR and UDMR would be weaker than the previous one after 17 MPs loyal to former Liberal leader Ludovic Orban have left the PNL caucus in the Parliament in the last month. Former labor minister Violeta Alexandru is the latest departure from the Liberal team. The coalition would need their votes as well for the new Government and to pass their initiatives through the Parliament.
Meanwhile, a coalition between PNL and PSD would have stronger support in the Parliament. The downside for PNL would be that PSD would be the dominant partner in such a coalition, leaving the Liberals with fewer minister positions.
PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu said on Wednesday that his party would make a prime minister proposal to president Klaus Iohannis. The PNL and PSD leaders were expected to meet on Thursday, November 4.