Romanian president asks Ludovic Orban to form new government

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s president on Tuesday nominated Ludovic Orban of the center-right National Liberal Party to form a new government and become the country’s next prime minister.

Orban has 10 days from receiving President Klaus Iohannis’ mandate to build support in the Romanian Parliament, which must vote on whether to approve his proposed government.

Beset by corruption scandals, the Social Democratic government led by Prime Minister Viorica Dancila lost a no-confidence vote in the legislature last week.

The PNL, as Orban’s party is known, is Romania’s largest opposition group.

Orban promised to give Romanians what they look for in a “normal government” - “Honor, competence, integrity, dedication to serving the public interest and solutions to the big problems Romania is facing today.”

Iohannis led the PNL for a few months before he became president in December 2014 and plans to seek reelection in November. A parliamentary election is scheduled for late 2020.

The president said he consulted several parties about forming a new government last week, and the PNL “was the only party that came to the consultations and said directly that they were willing, even if it is very difficult, to take on the governance during this transitional period.”

Iohannis also criticized the three Social Democratic governments that had led the country since 2017, saying they “seriously damaged Romania.”

With Prime Minister Viktor Orban leading the government of neighboring Hungary, which has Budapest as its capital city — a Ludovic Orban government in Romania - where the capital is Bucharest - could initially cause confusion and double-takes.