Romania was thrown back into political crisis on Monday after prime minister designate Nicolae Ciuca, a retired four-star general, admitted defeat in his bid to form a new government.
“I had hoped to find a political solution… but the mathematical reality is the one we all know,” Nicolae Ciuca, who was appointed 10 days ago by President Klaus Iohannis, told journalists.
Romania was plunged into turmoil in early October when liberal Prime Minister Florin Citu lost a no-confidence vote in parliament, weeks after a coalition ally walked out of his government over what they termed his “dictatorial attitude”.
Iohannis had initially chosen former EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos to replace Citu, but Ciolos failed to secure the required majority in parliament.
Now the same fate has befallen Ciuca, a four-star general who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and entered politics only last year as a member of the National Liberal Party (PNL).
Fresh negotiations between the PNL and the other political groupings could be launched on Tuesday, should Iohannis choose to do so, said Ciuca, who was defence minister in the last government.
Ciuca, 54, had been attempting to secure the support of the opposition democrats (PSD) or the reformist USR as the liberals and their allies in the UDMR, the party representing Romania’s ethnic Hungarian minority, control only 150 of the 465 parliamentary seats.
Romania’s political crisis grinds on as the country faces a fourth, and particularly virulent, wave of the Covid-19 virus, with an average of 400 deaths registered each day over the past three weeks.