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luni, 20 septembrie 2021 - 1:14

Romanian PM sacks justice minister, endangering coalition government

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Romanian Prime Minister Florin Cîțu sacked his justice minister late Wednesday, plunging the EU member’s governing coalition into crisis, according to rferl.org.

The centrist prime minister accused Justice Minister Stelian Ion of undermining a 50 billion lei ($12 billion) community development plan aimed at modernizing infrastructure. The plan needed the Justice Ministry’s approval.

“I will not accept ministers in the Romanian government who oppose the modernization of Romania,” Cîțu told a news briefing.

“Blocking the activity of the government only because you do not agree to develop communities means violating the mandate given to you by parliament through the governing program,” Cîțu added.

The move threatens a coalition made up of Cîțu’s Liberal Party, Ion’s USR-PLUS, and the ethnic Hungarians group, which jointly control 56% of parliament.

Following the sacking, USR-PLUS decided to withdraw its support for the prime minister and called for the start of coalition talks to form a new government. If coalition talks fail to find a new prime minister, USR-PLUS said it would support a censure motion against the Cîțu government.

“Tonight (Wednesday), Prime Minister Florin Cîțu has just shown that he has no respect for the law, for the constitution,” Ion said. “In this way, Florin Cîțu actually signed his own departure from the government because it is only a matter of time until Florin Cîțu will go home.”

A rupture in the coalition could endanger the government’s agenda to curb its yawning deficit and fight the coronavirus pandemic, leaving it without a majority.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Romania was struggling with a widening budget shortfall from years of political instability and fiscal largesse.