Irem UZUN -TDO- Romanian legislators have toppled Prime Minister Ludovic Orban's centrist minority government in a no-confidence vote, raising the possibility of early elections. Opposition left- wing politicians brought Wednesday's no-confidence vote in parliament against Orban's minority government. The Social Democrats (PSD) succeeded in achieving the minimum of 233 votes from a total of 465 MPs to topple the government - with 261 voting in favour of the motion.

"The Orban government fell. It's a very big step for Romanian democracy," said Marcel Ciolacu, leader of the opposition Social Democrats (PSD), which has been seeking his ouster since Orban's National Liberal Party (PNL) took hold. The vote followed an attempt to change the law for local elections, and to re-introduce a two-round voting system. On February 4, one day before the vote on the no-confidence motion, the Liberal Government adopted an emergency ordinance that brings important changes to the way parliamentary elections are organized. One of the most important changes is reducing the legal term for announcing the elections from 90 days to 50 days, although the Constitution provides a 3-month period for organizing the elections.

In January, Orban said that together with president Klaus Iohannis he will aim to trigger an early general election by the middle of this year. He did not specify how he will try to achieve this objective but recent opinion polls show support for PNL exceeds by far support for PSD. Romania is expected to hold its next regular parliamentary elections in March 2021. Now, President Klaus Iohannis has to nominate a new prime minister and government after he holds consultations with political parties or call early elections. Until then, Orban's government will carry on as a caretaker cabinet.

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