Romanian PM survives no-confidence vote

By: AFP      Published: 06:04 PM, 29 Jun, 2021
Romanian PM survives no-confidence vote

Romanian Prime Minister Florin Citu survived a vote of confidence on Tuesday brought by the opposition which accused the pro-EU government of "leading the country into the abyss".

A total of 201 lawmakers supported the motion, far from the 234 needed to overthrow the administration.

The Social Democrats (PSD), backed by the nationalist AUR party, accused the government of impoverishing Romanians by "freezing salaries and pensions" and wasting money borrowed on global markets.

Ex-banker Citu rejected the accusations, saying that his coalition of liberals and the reformist USR-Plus party, elected in December, were intent on modernising the country.

"We have devoted a record amount to public investment," he told parliament, putting the sum at the equivalent of 5.5 percent of gross domestic product.

The bulk of these funds were intended for construction of highways and hospitals, while the country's dilapidated infrastructure has deterred investment in recent years.

At the same time, the government has pledged to clean up the finances of one of the EU's poorest countries, which has been warned by Brussels over its excessive public deficit.

The economy, hit hard by the pandemic, shrank 3.9 percent in 2020, its worst annual contraction since 2009. 

But with coronavirus restrictions easing, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund have revised their growth forecasts upwards to between 5.1 percent and 6 percent for 2021. 

Analysts, however, warn of the risks to the economy in the event of another wave of Covid-19, which could strike in a few months' time as the vaccination campaign stalls. 

Only 4.5 million Romanians have so far been immunised out of a population of 19 million.

While many Romanians are hesitant to be vaccinated, critics say the government has also failed to encourage people to get their shots.

Romania's liberal government faces no-confidence vote

 Romanian Prime Minister Florin Citu will face a vote of confidence in parliament Tuesday, with the opposition accusing the pro-EU government of "leading the country into the abyss".

Ex-banker Citu and his cabinet were sworn in last December following parliamentary elections in which the Social Democratic Party (PSD) came first but failed to find allies to govern, opening the door to Citu's liberal PNL-led coalition government.  

In order to be successful, the no-confidence motion must garner 234 votes, a scenario seen as unlikely by analysts.

The PSD and the nationalist AUR party, which back the motion, have a total of 205 seats. The debate was due to begin at 1100 GMT, with the vote taking place in the evening.

The opposition accuses the government, which also includes the reformist party USR-Plus, of "impoverishing" Romanians by freezing wages and pensions after it slashed a PSD-promised doubling of pensions to rein in debt.

Romania, which is among the poorest countries in the EU, is under fire from Brussels for running excessive deficits. The economy, hit hard by the pandemic, shrank 3.9 percent in 2020, its worst annual contraction since 2009. 

But with coronavirus restrictions easing, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have revised upwards their growth forecasts to between 5.1 percent and 6 percent for 2021. 

Analysts, however, warn of the risks to the economy in the event of a fourth wave of Covid-19, which could strike in a few months' time as the vaccination campaign stalls. 

Only 4.5 million Romanians have so far been immunised out of a total population of 19 million.

While many Romanians are hesitant to be vaccinated, critics say the government has also failed to encourage people to get their shots.