Romania's president names liberal as new premier

BUCHAREST, Romania – Romania's president on Tuesday, October 15, named Ludovic Orban, chief of the National Liberal Party (PNL), as the next prime minister after the previous left-wing government collapsed in a no-confidence vote.

Orban, 56, a former transport minister, must now receive the backing from the fragmented parliament as the EU-member country struggles to overcome months of political instability.

President Klaus Iohannis named Orban – a familiar face in Romania's political landscape for the past two decades – after holding two rounds of consultations with parliamentary groups.

Orban's designation was expected after his party successfully spearheaded a no-confidence vote against the government of Viorica Dancila's Social Democratic Party (PSD).

Lawmakers last week voted narrowly in favor of the motion.

One of the main challenges of the next government is to write next year's budget, complicated by an explosion of public spending in recent months as the PSD struggled to stay in power.

The political shift comes one month before the first round of presidential elections, which are scheduled for November 10.

Incumbent Iohannis, seeking a second term with the support of PNL, is seen as a clear favorite – even more so now after former premier Dancila, who's also running, lost executive power and plunged her party into crisis. –