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Romania’s Government Collapses After Losing Confidence Vote

Irina Vilcu and Andra Timu

(Bloomberg) -- Romania lost a third prime minister in as many years as the government was ousted in a no-confidence motion.

Parliament voted to remove Viorica Dancila and her minority cabinet, which lost its coalition partner in August and has struggled to steady the Black Sea nation’s finances as the budget deficit tests European Union limits.

With a transitional government now likely until new elections can be held next year, investors didn’t fret much, with the leu losing 0.1% against the euro.

Eastern Europe is no stranger to political turmoil. Only Italy gets close to the number of government heads who’ve come and gone since the region jettisoned communism almost three decades ago. Romania is on now course for its 17th -- more than any other EU member.

“Romania’s nightmare is now over and we’re now embarking on a new period of reconstruction, which won’t be easy,” Ludovic Orban, leader of the opposition Liberal Party, told reporters in Bucharest after the vote.

The party will outline its strategy on Friday before mandatory consultations with President Klaus Iohannis, who must designate the next prime minister.

Thursday’s result paves the way for the Liberals to lead a new ruling alliance and comes just a month before presidential elections that polls suggest will hand Dancila another defeat and incumbent Iohannis a second term. Even so, the administration that takes over until elections can be held is likely to be shaky.

“Expect chaos, noise and bad timing in terms of who wants which portfolios,” said Bucharest-based political consultant Radu Magdin, who’s worked in the past with the Social Democrats.

Here’s Why Romanian Politics Is Blowing Up Yet Again: QuickTake

The options available to opposition forces include:

Forming a new ruling coalitionBacking a caretaker government until scheduled general elections at end-2020Letting an interim government run the country until after the presidential ballot

A snap parliamentary election -- which would be Romania’s first since the fall of communism -- can’t take place in the final six months of a presidential term, with Iohannis’s ending in December.

Iohannis said he’ll check whether parties support the idea of an early vote. In the meantime, he’ll look for a prime minister to steady the ship.

“I will propose a premier with a clear-cut mandate: an efficient government until the next parliamentary elections, regardless of when they can be held,” he said.

(Updates with leu in third paragraph, opposition leader in fifth.)

--With assistance from Radoslav Tomek.

To contact the reporters on this story: Irina Vilcu in Bucharest at isavu@bloomberg.net;Andra Timu in Bucharest at atimu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net, Andrew Langley, Michael Winfrey

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