Romanian PM says aims to trigger snap election

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romanian liberal Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Friday he will try to trigger a snap parliamentary election by mid-year in an attempt to restore confidence after years of political instability.

The European Union state is currently expected to hold local and parliamentary polls in June and late 2020, respectively, with no more elections scheduled after that until 2024. Previous election years have shown policymaking all but stops until lawmakers are sworn in.

Orban’s minority government came to power in early November after the previous Social Democrat (PSD) cabinet was toppled in a no-confidence vote after three years in power. His Liberal Party currently leads in opinion polls.

The Social Democrats’ expansionary fiscal and wage policies have increased Romania’s budget and current account deficits, while changes to judicial legislation seen by Brussels as endangering the rule of law have dented investors’ appetite.

The PSD remains the country’s largest party, with the most parliamentary seats.

A snap election can be triggered only if parliament rejects two successive prime minister proposals within sixty days. Analysts have said such a feat would be extremely difficult with fragmented and polarized parliamentary groupings.

“Let me be clear, President Klaus Iohannis and I have decided early elections are what is best for Romania,” Orban told reporters after meeting the president.

He said last year’s European and presidential elections have shown Romanians no longer wanted the Social Democrats in power.

“Parliament is currently dominated by the PSD, which acts as a brake on the government, and it is necessary that citizens elect their representatives to be a mirror image of their wishes,” said Orban, who declined to comment on how he would trigger snap polls.

The Romanian leu was flat against the euro.

(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; editing by Chizu Nomiyama)