Ex army officer to lead Romania, as MPs put differences aside to face crisesReading Time: < 1 minutes
Romanian MPs overwhelmingly approved a grand coalition that includes historically bitter rivals the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Social Democratic Party (PSD) on Thursday. Former army general Nicolae Ciuca was also voted in as prime minister and will lead the three-party government, which also includes ethnic-Hungarian minority party the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR).
Although the country is now exiting a period of crippling political inaction, Ciuca inherits a number of urgent issues, notably Romania’s disastrous COVID-19 situation, soaring inflation and the delayed implementation of an EU-funded economic recovery plan. Ciuca plans to increase funding for pensions and health care via budgetary amendments on Friday. “We will do everything possible to put citizens back in focus… please allow us to get to work,” Ciuca said.
The PNL and PSD will each hold nine of the 21 ministerial posts, and the UDMR three. As the choice of the National Liberal Party, Prime Minister Ciuca will serve as premier for 18 months before passing the baton to Social Democrat leader Marcel Ciolacu until elections are expectedly held in 2024. Ciuca was the third candidate proposed to lead the country in the aftermath of the collapse of Florin Citu’s PNL-led government on 5 October.