Romania’s centrist government faces no-confidence test

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban’s centrist minority government will face a vote of no-confidence brought by the leftist opposition on Wednesday, its first test of parliamentary support since taking power on an anti-graft ticket in November.

The opposition Social Democrats (PSD), striving to regain power after being ousted in a censure motion in October, have criticized Orban for trying to alter electoral laws without public debate ahead of a mayoral ballot in June.

The PSD, which has the backing of the ethnic Hungarian party UDMR, is a couple of votes short of what is required to topple the government but has said it will try to recruit other lawmakers. Parliament’s voting session starts at 1000 GMT.

Political analysts said Orban’s Liberals stand a good chance of forming a coalition government after a parliamentary election due in late 2020 and restore investor confidence, eroded by several years of political instability and fiscal largesse.

Orban’s Liberal Party has doubled its popularity ratings to about 47% since a 2016 parliamentary election, while PSD’s have halved to about 20% over the same period.

Romania, a European Union member, is currently expected to hold local and parliamentary polls in June and late 2020, respectively, with no more elections scheduled after that until 2024.

“Frankly, I do not expect the PSD to be able to garner enough votes to topple this government,” Orban said.

“However, if this happens, as we have repeatedly said, we won’t back any new cabinet, so as to trigger early polls.”

(Reporting by Radu Marinas; Editing by Gareth Jones)