An ex-general has been elected president of Romania by the Romanian parliament.

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An ex-general has been elected president of Romania by the Romanian parliament.

Romania’s parliament approved retired four-star general Nicolae Ciuca to lead a coalition government on Thursday, averting a political crisis as the EU member confronts a fourth Covid-19 wave.

Ciuca’s liberals and their old social democratic adversaries reached an agreement on Sunday to form a coalition government, two months after liberal Prime Minister Florin Citu was ousted from office in parliament by a no-confidence vote.

The Hungarian Minority Party (UDMR), which received 318 votes to 126 votes against, is also a member of the new coalition.

Before the vote, Ciuca, a 54-year-old Afghanistan veteran, told lawmakers, “We put aside our political differences… to stop the tense situation that our country is living through.”

Ciuca’s liberals (PNL) and the Social Democrats (PSD), who shared power in 2012-14 before splitting out, have agreed to an unprecedented “rotation” of prime ministers until the December 2024 legislative elections.

Ciuca and his PSD counterpart Marcel Ciolacu will each serve an 18-month term under the agreement.

The PSD is Romania’s largest party, but its most recent term in power, which ended in 2019, was marked by enormous anti-corruption rallies and spats with Brussels over judicial reforms that were deemed problematic.

Premier Citu lost a no-confidence vote in early October, just weeks after a coalition ally stepped out of his cabinet, accusing him of having a “dictatorial mindset.”

In the poor EU state, where just 37 percent of the 19 million people are doubly vaccinated, the political crisis has coincided with a particularly virulent surge of Covid-19.

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