On Tuesday, the Romanian administration of liberal Prime Minister Florin Citu was deposed in a no-confidence vote, threatening to throw the country into new political turmoil.
The administration and its allies boycotted the vote, which resulted in 281 MPs voting in favor of the no-confidence resolution and none voting against it.
The problem occurs as Romania, one of the poorest countries in the European Union, fights a devastating fourth wave of coronavirus and Romanians face astronomical energy prices this winter.
Former banker Citu, 49, has been prime minister only since December after the previous parliamentary election, but has already been abandoned by its centre-right coalition partner and heavily criticised by the left.
The centre-right USR party last month withdrew from his liberal coalition, complaining about Citu’s “dictatorial attitude”.
The left-wing opposition Social Democrats (PSD) accuse his government of “impoverishing Romanians and increasing the country’s debts”.
The vote came after just two hours of debate among MPs, at the beginning of which Citu asked his opponents: “What do you have to gain by plunging the country into chaos?”
However, Citu could yet remain in place — initially on an interim basis but possibly longer-term.
Under the constitution, centre-right President Klaus Iohannis would have to name a new prime minister.
There is speculation, however, that Iohannis may simply re-nominate Citu, daring other parties to provoke fresh elections, which according to current opinion polls, would likely favour only the leftist PSD.