Romania's PM Citu government survives no-confidence vote

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FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister-designate Florin Citu attends a news conference, alongside former interim PM Ludovic Orban, after being nominated to form a transitional government

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania's centrist coalition government of Prime Minister Florin Citu easily survived a vote of no-confidence by the opposition Social Democrats on Tuesday, confirming its stable majority six months after coming to power at the height of pandemic.

The motion to topple Citu, headlined "A failed Romania - The fantastic record of Citu government", was rejected by legislators, with only 201 MPs supporting it. It needed 234 minimum votes to pass.

The PSD slammed Citu for what they call plunging living standards stemming from a drive to freeze state pensions and wages throughout the year in the aftermath of the pandemic, and because of ballooning household energy bills.

In response, the government said it expected the economy to grow by almost 7.0% this year as investment picks up and businesses and domestic consumption rebound from the damage inflicted by the coronavirus lockdowns.

"Food is cheap, purchasing power is increasing, and consumption is increasing," Citu told parliament. "Romanians are happier."

The European Union member state saw its economy shrink less than expected last year, but its budget and current account deficits widened while the recovery has fuelled a spike in consumer price inflation.

Ruling Liberal Party head Ludovic Orban, who hailed the outcome of the vote, told reporters: "Our governing coalition works further ... The (censure ) motion was a soap bubble, today this soap bubble burst."

(Reporting by Radu Marinas; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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