Liberals withdraw from Romanian coalition government

BUCHAREST Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:59pm EST

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BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania's ruling Liberal Party voted to pull its ministers out of the coalition government of leftist Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Tuesday, after a series of squabbles that has dogged the alliance in recent weeks.

"We voted overwhelmingly by 96 percent to pull out our ministers from the cabinet," Health Minister Eugen Nicolaescu told Reuters.

The move will force Ponta's Social Democrats to seek a vote of confidence from parliament for his team in early March which analysts expect them to win, while the Liberals will return to the opposition benches after being in power since May 2012.

A slimmer majority in parliament could hobble policymaking in an election year, and put the brakes on a series of reforms being rolled out under a deal with the International Monetary Fund.

(Reporting by Radu Marinas; Editing by Luiza Ilie)

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