Romania’s PM Orban resigns after slim election loss, interim leader sworn in to build coalition

Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban has resigned following an unexpected – and narrow – election defeat after a tightly-fought campaign. President Klaus Iohannis has been sworn in as interim PM until a new government is formed.

Orban, leader of the National Liberal Party (PNL), announced his resignation on TV after the Social Democrats (PSD) emerged from Sunday’s elections with 30 percent of the ballot to the PNL’s 26 percent, after 95 percent of votes had been counted.

Iohannis said on Monday that he would not ask the PSD to put together a new government, despite the party’s nominal win at the elections. Instead, it’s expected that Iohannis will call on the second-place PNL party, which he used to lead, to form a coalition with the centrist Save Romania Union (USR PLUS alliance), which took 16 percent of the vote.

Deals will now have to be made to determine control of Romania’s 465-seat bicameral parliament, although Orban vowed on Monday never to negotiate with the PSD, a pledge matched by the USR PLUS alliance.

The PNL and USR PLUS alliance could form a government with the UDMR party (six percent) representing the Hungarian minority, one of only two remaining parties, which secured above the five percent threshold needed to enter parliament.

The only other party is the recently-created far-right nationalist AUR alliance, which took nine percent of the vote.

The number of eligible votes cast at the December 6 ballot was 5,561,331, representing a voter turnout of 30 percent.

(This story has been published from RT News Network feed, without modifications to the text)