June 18, 2019 / 4:05 PM / a year ago

Romania's government survives no-confidence vote

FILE PHOTO: Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila attends a debate on the rule of law in Romania at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler/File Photo

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania’s Social Democrat (PSD) coalition government survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote on Tuesday, strengthening Prime Minister Viorica Dancila’s chances of being confirmed as PSD leader at a party congress this month.

Dancila, a protegee of long-time leader Liviu Dragnea, was appointed on an interim basis after he was jailed for corruption last month.

On Tuesday, 200 lawmakers in the 465-seat bicameral parliament voted for the motion, as expected short of the majority needed to topple the government.

The motion was brought by centrist opposition groupings which said that, despite Dragnea’s imprisonment, the PSD remained a big threat to the rule of law in one of EU’s most corrupt states.

Seeking to improve the PSD’s image, Dancila removed some Dragnea allies from key posts after he was jailed, and blamed an overhaul of the judiciary that she has also embarked on for the party’s poor showing in last month’s European Parliament election, which the centrists won.

Since taking office in 2016, the Social Democrats have chipped away at the independence of the judiciary, also triggering sharp criticism from the European Union and the country’s largest street protests in decades.

The PSD congress is scheduled for June 29. Analysts had said defeating Tuesday’s no-confidence vote would strengthen Dancila’s hand within the party.

Editing by John Stonestreet

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