Romania's government collapsed late on Monday as the junior USR-Plus party announced the withdrawal of its ministers from the three-party coalition led by the National Liberal Party (PNL) amid a row with Prime Minister Florin Citu.
USR-Plus Co-President Dan Barna made the announcement at a special press conference at Parliament Palace, flanked by his party's ministers and lawmakers.
"Florin Citu dynamited the coalition consciously and is entirely responsible for this," said Barna, who is also deputy prime minister in the current coalition government.
Barna said that he would go to Cotroceni Presidential Palace for a scheduled meeting with President Klaus Iohannis with a mandate to request the prime minister's replacement so as to keep the ruling coalition in place.
The coalition includes the PNL, the USR-Plus and the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR).
Barna also noted that, in the context of the resignation of ministers, the government would have to come to the parliament for a new investiture, reiterating that the USR-Plus wants to be part of the future coalition government without the incumbent prime minister.
Prime Minister Citu criticized the USL-Plus ministers, accusing them of behaving like some "spoiled children."
He argued that there are many projects to be adopted in the coming period. "We want to govern Romania. It is not a reconciliation, but for the interests of Romanians."
Citu also said he would make a new majority by negotiations.
"You will see that in the parliament. I will be able to make a majority," he added, without specifying with whom he could make the needed parliament majority.
Under the Constitution, Citu will have at most 45 days to form his new cabinet and ask for a vote of confidence from the parliament.
Following a long drawn-out conflict between the USR-Plus and the prime minister, the recent dismissal of Justice Minister Stelian Ion, a member of USR-Plus, appears to have been the last straw that triggered the breakdown of the coalition that was formed in December 2020.