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Romanian Senate speaker quits, upstages government

March 4, 2014

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The speaker of Romania’s Senate has resigned before the prime minister could remove him.

Liberal Party leader Crin Antonescu announced Tuesday on live television that he was leaving the country’s second most powerful position, making himself the day’s top news rather than the prime minister’s success in winning parliament’s approval for a new government.

The Liberals quit the coalition on Feb. 25 after Prime Minister Victor Ponta refused to accept their nominee for interior minister, a popular mayor.

Ponta called the resignation “political suicide,” while Antonescu urged Ponta to resign.

Parliament later approved a new left-wing coalition of loyalists, ethnic Hungarians and a champion runner.

Antonescu is expected to be a candidate in Romania’s presidential election in November. The incumbent, President Traian Basescu, will be stepping down after 10 years.

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