Romanian opposition ask court to overturn move to renominate PM

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romania’s opposition Social Democrat Party (PSD) said on Monday they would go to court to challenge President Klaus Iohannis’s move to renominate the ousted Ludovic Orban as prime minister, which could derail plans to trigger an early election.

Lawmakers last week toppled Orban’s three-month-old minority government, potentially opening the way for an election that his Liberals (PNL) are confident of winning.

The next day, Iohannis, an ally of the centrist Liberals, asked Orban to form a new government.

That cabinet is set to be voted down in parliament – the first of two proposed governments that need to be rejected by lawmakers within 60 days to trigger an election, which would then take place a few months ahead of schedule.

Shortening the election cycle could be a relief for markets if it puts an end to years of political instability.

But analysts have warned that a snap election is hard to bring about, especially in view of Romania’s fragmented and disparate parliamentary groupings.

They say the process of triggering it will mean weeks or months of wrangling and stall policymaking at a time when widening budget and current account deficits are pressuring Romanian shares and bonds and rating outlooks.

Orban’s PNL has doubled its support in opinion polls to about 47% since 2016, while the Social Democrats (PSD) have broadly lost half their support, falling to about 20%.

PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu said he had turned to the Constitutional Court because a nominee for prime minister must come from a majority party or alliance and Orban, having lost a no confidence vote, did not meet this condition.

(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Kevin Liffey)