Romania Social Democrats Woo Ally to Secure Power

The national executive committee of Romania's ruling Social Democratic Party, PSD, on Thursday approved a new pact with a junior party in the governing coalition, aimed at shoring up support for the current centre-left government.

The government of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who is the PSD leader, has been looking vulnerable ever since Ponta's surprise defeat in the presidential elections last November.

Since then, the UDMR, the main ethnic Hungarian party, and the People's Party, a small formation led by a now jailed media tycoon, have pulled out the ruling coalition.

The new deal with the National Union for the Progress of Romania, UNPR, will provide support for the PSD and ensure Ponta's administration a continued working majority. With 52 seats in parliament, the UNPR is the third-largest party in Romania.

The ruling coalition holds around 55 per cent of the seats in parliament, down from 65 per cent before the presidential election.

Under the terms of the pact, the Social Democrats and the UNPR will run joint lists at the next local and parliamentary elections scheduled for 2016.

"Our party is now strong and the ruling coalition cannot be toppled by the opposition in a vote of confidence," Ponta said shortly before the PSD meeting.

On November 16, 2014, Ponta lost a run off vote in the presidential election to the centre-right opposition leader, Klaus Iohannis.

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