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Romania's president asks outgoing PM Orban to form government

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romania’s president on Thursday asked outgoing Prime Minister Ludovic Orban to form a new government around the premier’s centrist Liberal party, moving a step closer to an early parliamentary election which Orban is widely expected to win.

The move by Klaus Iohannis is part of a plan agreed with his centrist ally Orban to force elections six months early, in order to take advantage of the Liberal’s rising popularity and cement their grip on power for the next four years.

On Wednesday, lawmakers toppled Orban’s three-month-old Liberal minority government in a parliamentary vote of no-confidence spearheaded by the opposition Social Democrats (PSD), the country’s largest grouping.

Iohannis has made clear his choice would only be Orban, to be sure he gets rejected by the legislators and lead to the dissolution of parliament.

“As I have repeatedly said, a snap poll is my first option, it is the correct choice. I decided to ask Ludovic Orban to form a new cabinet,” Klaus Iohannis told reporters after holding consultations with parliamentary political groupings.

Parliament is considered dissolved and a snap election is held if legislators reject two successive prime minister proposals within 60 days. Pundits have said, however, the likely outcome is unclear given fragmented political groupings.

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