Romanian Parliament Approves Third Government in a Year

  • Viorica Dancila becomes country’s first woman prime minister
  • Vote on new cabinet reconfirms Social Democrats’ majority

Viorica Dancila adresses the Romanian Parliament in Bucharest on Jan. 29.

Photographer: Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images

Romania’s parliament approved the Black Sea nation’s third government in a year, a move designed to end infighting within the ruling coalition that had risked harming the European Union’s fastest-growing economy.

Lawmakers in Bucharest voted Monday in favor of the new cabinet, which will be led by Viorica Dancila, the country’s first women prime minister. While seen as an ally of powerful Social Democrat boss Liviu Dragnea, she’s pledged to adopt a more constructive approach to governing than her two predecessors, who were fired after falling out with him.

“I invite all parties to a constructive dialogue and I pledge that as long as I’m prime minister, no new taxes will be introduced,” Dancila said in a speech in parliament before the vote.

Dancila takes over an economy that surged by an annual 8.8 percent in the third quarter, though growth is threatened by a budget deficit swelled by tax cuts and public-sector wage hikes. The start of her tenure also coincides with renewed protests as Romanians bristle at changes to the judiciary, some of which are seen as efforts to weaken an anti-corruption drive.

The new cabinet lineup is also controversial. It includes Deputy Premier Paul Stanescu, who’s facing an abuse-of-office probe, and ex-EU Funds Minister Rovana Plumb, who retained her parliamentary immunity to repel a separate investigation. Among other appointments, Eugen Teodorovici returns as finance minister, while Tudorel Toader remains justice minister.

The leu recovered some of the losses prompted by the sudden resignation of Mihai Tudose as prime minister two weeks ago, gaining 0.5 percent since the cabinet was announced Friday.

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