National Liberal Party (PNL) leader Crin Antonescu announced his resignation as Senate speaker on Tuesday, at the peak of a political conflict with the Social Democrats (PSD), with whom the Liberals shared the government until last week. The announcement comes days after PNL announced it was withdrawing from the governing alliance with the PSD and the day when a new government - the third - led by Social Democratic leader Victor Ponta was expecting a vote of validation in the Parliament.
Prior to his resignation announcement, Crin Antonescu offered PM Ponta that they both resign, given that they took over as Senate speaker and prime minister respectively because of the victory of the Liberal Social Union (USL), made of PSD and PNL, in the last general elections. With the withdrawl of PNL from the governing alliance, USL was dead, so its leaders should step down, Antonescu offered.
But Ponta said he would not resign and would go through the vote of validation for his new government today.
USL's landslide victory assured an overwhelming parliamentary majority for Ponta's government over the past year. But with PNL's withdrawal, PSD needs the support of a new alliance - this time with the Hungarian Democrats and two other smaller political group - with a considerably narrower parliamentary majority.
President Traian Basescu has said that with all the changes in the government, the governing program must have changed and that would make him the one to decide a new prime minister. But Ponta disagreed, saying that the USL program remains despite one of the USL pillars, the Liberal party, leaving the alliance.