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Government lost support in Senate, to face tough vote on no confidence motion

The deputy Speaker of the Senate, Petru Filip, a member of the Democrat Liberal Party (PDL), the largest in government, allegedly resigned today (Mon) from PDL, the local press informs. Sources close to parliament say Filip will join the Liberal Party which together with the Social Democrats and the Conservative forms the Social Liberal Union (USL), in opposition.

Sources close to the majority say another PDL Senator Marian Rasaliu left the party today, but it is still unclear if he would join the opposition.

The latest defections from the ranks of the Democratic Liberals changed the proportion between the ruling coalition and the USL, that won the majority of seats (70 as against 62).

The dramatic changes in parliament take place amidst the USLís attempt to topple the government by a motion of no confidence. If USL manages to win the majority of the seats in the lower chamber as well, then the cabinet might fall later in the week. The Social Liberals need three more seats to gain the majority in the Chamber of Deputies.

The motion was read last night in parliament and will be debated in the plenum on Friday.
Liberal leader Crin Antonescu said today that if the motion passed, then USL would nominate the co-president of the opposition Social Democrat leader Victor Ponta for the prime ministerial office. Antonescu said if President Traian Basescu refused to acknowledge the new majority and appoint Ponta as the next prime minister (PM), then USL will start the procedures to impeach the president.

Victor Ponta said USL would go to the negotiations with Basescu only in the presence of the journalists and with recording devices.

"We will put the recorders on the table. With Basescu you need to have material proof (...)." Ponta said. He hinted to the recent episode when the president told a TV interview he offered Ponta the PM position but he refused.

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