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Romania's government threatened by no confidence vote

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Bucharest (AFP)

Romania's opposition on Tuesday initiated a no confidence vote against the ruling left-wing government, which finds itself in a vulnerable moment after it was recently abandoned by its coalition partner, was thrashed at the polls and saw its leader sent to jail.

The document, entitled "To rebuild Romania, Dancila's government must be sacked urgently", was signed by 237 senators and deputies.

Although 233 votes are needed for the government to collapse, the number of signatures gathered to launch the process is not a guarantee that lawmakers will turn their signature into a formal vote.

Four current and former members of the ruling Social Democratic party (PSD) are amongst those who signed the document.

"For all the arrogance, the incompetence and the malice with which they have governed, the vote for the collapse of this anti-national government it's a necessity for every lawmaker of good faith", said Raluca Turcan, leader of the deputies of the National Liberal Party (PNL), the largest party of the opposition.

The opposition wants the decisive vote to take place next week.

Even though her government is as close as it has ever been in the last three years to losing power, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, who is also chief of PSD, voiced confidence that her government will prevail.

"This no-confidence vote won't pass", Dancila told a press conference Tuesday.

Her problems started in August, when the PSD's coalition partner, the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), withdrew its support citing major disagreements.

ALDE members are now in favour of the no-confidence vote.

The social democrats, who have dominated Romanian politics for the past three decades, were heavily defeated in May's European Parliament elections. The same month their leader, Liviu Dragnea, was jailed for corruption.

What will happen if the no-confidence vote passes it's not clear, for the six opposition parties that signed the procedure have different ideologies, agendas and interests.

"Our first option is to give the power to the people through snap elections. If there's not enough will for that, we can govern", said PNL leader Ludovic Orban.

President Klaus Iohannis, who hails from the centre-right and is at loggerheads with the current government, recently said he "can't wait" to see Dancila's executive go down.

Both Iohannis and Dancila are running in this year's presidential election, with the first round de to take place on 10 November.

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