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BUCHAREST: The Romanian government of liberal Prime Minister Florin Citu was brought down by a no-confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday, threatening to plunge the country into fresh political instability.

Former banker Citu had only been prime minister since December, but the centre-right USR party withdrew from his coalition last month complaining about his “dictatorial attitude”.

The left-wing opposition Social Democrats (PSD) accuse his government of “impoverishing Romanians and increasing the country’s debts”.

The two parties put aside their normal enmity to vote for the motion, and were joined by the far-right AUR.

The president will now be tasked with naming a new prime minister, with horse-trading between the parties that could even return Citu to power.

The crisis comes as Romania, one of the poorest countries in the European Union, battles a deadly fourth wave of coronavirus and spiralling energy costs.

The no-confidence motion was backed by 281 MPs, well in excess of the 234 required.

There were no votes against as Citu’s PNL party and its allies boycotted the poll, with the PNL branding it “irresponsible”.

The vote came after just two hours of debate among MPs, at the beginning of which Citu asked his opponents: “What do you have to gain by plunging the country into chaos?”

He left without waiting for the result of the vote but not before saying that he was sure the next administration would be “formed around liberal values”.

Under the constitution, centre-right President Klaus Iohannis would have to name a new prime minister.

Despite the hostilities of recent weeks, USR has said it would be willing to re-enter government with Citu’s PNL party but only with someone other than Citu at the helm.

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