Parliament toppled the nine-month-old minority government of PM Citu in a vote of no-confidence.

Romanian Prime Minister Florin Citu (C) prepares to address the Romanian Parliament during a non-confidence vote session at the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest on October 5, 2021.
Romanian Prime Minister Florin Citu (C) prepares to address the Romanian Parliament during a non-confidence vote session at the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest on October 5, 2021. (AFP)

The Romanian government of liberal Prime Minister Florin Citu has been brought down by a no-confidence vote in parliament, threatening to plunge the country into fresh political instability.

Former banker Citu had only been prime minister since December, but the centre-right USR party withdrew from his coalition last month complaining about his "dictatorial attitude".

The left-wing opposition Social Democrats (PSD) accuse his government of "impoverishing Romanians and increasing the country's debts".

The two parties put aside their normal enmity to vote for the motion, and were joined by the far-right AUR.

President Klaus Iohannis called on political parties to hold consultations next week on forming a new government before he nominates a new premier, most likely from the ranks of his ally, Citu's centrist Liberal Party.

READ MORE: Romania government falls after three months in office

Many more problems

The crisis comes as Romania, one of the poorest countries in the European Union, battles a deadly fourth wave of coronavirus and spiralling energy costs.

The no-confidence motion was backed by 281 MPs, well in excess of the 234 required.

There were no votes against as Citu's PNL party and its allies boycotted the poll, with the PNL branding it "irresponsible".

The vote came after 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?"

He left without waiting for the result of the vote but not before saying that he was sure the next administration would be "formed around liberal values".

There is also speculation that Iohannis may simply re-nominate Citu, daring other parties to provoke fresh elections, which according to current opinion polls would probably favour the PSD.

However, an early election is unlikely as parliament would need to reject two consecutive proposals for premier by Iohannis within 60 days, and coalition parties say they are bent on rebuilding a government quickly, given the current economic challenges.

READ MORE:Romania’s PM Orban resigns after election loss

'War-like' conditions

The latest political crisis comes as the country's doctors talk of "war-like" conditions as they battle against the fourth wave of the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the country of just over 19 million recorded more than 15,000 cases and 252 deaths linked to the coronavirus within 24 hours.

The pandemic has so far claimed 37,929 lives in Romania.

On Friday, seven people were killed when a fire ripped through an intensive care unit in a hospital in the south-east, the third deadly tragedy to befall the country's health system in less than a year.

Romania's vaccination campaign has meanwhile lagged behind many other EU countries, with only a third of the population fully vaccinated.

READ MORE: Fire at Romanian Covid-19 hospital kills at least seven people

Source: TRTWorld and agencies