Romanian Social Democrat Mihai Tudose designated new premier

Romanian Social Democrat Mihai Tudose designated new premier

Bucharest (AFP) - Romania's outgoing economy minister Mihai Tudose was designated as the new premier on Monday, days after the ruling Social Democrats torpedoed its own government following an internal power row.

Tudose, 50, now has 10 days to gain the vote of confidence in his government and his programme.

The Social Democrat party (PSD) filed a no-confidence motion in former prime minister Sorin Grindeanu last Wednesday, accusing him of "delays" in implementing reforms in the European Union's second-poorest country.

MPs are likely to vote on Tudose's nomination on Thursday -- a formality given that the PSD holds a parliamentary majority with its ALDE ally.

The PSD unexpectedly withdrew its support for 43-year-old Grindeanu on June 14, barely six months after the party swept back to victory in elections.

Grindeanu however refused to resign and accused powerful PSD boss Liviu Dragnea, 54, of seeking to "concentrate all the power in his hands".

Dragnea, who is barred from running for office because of a fraud conviction, is widely acknowledged to pull the strings behind the scenes.

But Grindeanu, once considered Dragnea's puppet, began to assert his independence in recent months, which reportedly led to his fall from grace.

Romanian media on Monday highlighted the fact that Tudose was one of the ministers held responsible for the failure of Grindeanu's government to implement reforms.

It is the second major crisis to hit the PSD since it rode back into power in December, barely a year after being forced from office over a deadly nightclub blaze blamed on corruption.

In February, Romania's largest protests since the fall of communism forced the government to drop a bill aimed at watering down anti-corruption laws that critics said would help Dragnea himself.

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