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BUCHAREST, March 4 (Reuters) - Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta won a confidence vote in parliament as expected on Tuesday, giving him a new mandate to push through a series of IMF-backed reforms aimed at speeding up growth in the European Union's second poorest country.
Ponta's Social Democrat (PSD) led government won a vote in both houses by a combined 346 votes to 192, having partially restored its majority with new allies following the departure last week of the Liberal party after a series of rows.
The Liberals' exit had sparked worries about Romania's ability to implement commitments it made under a 4 billion euro aid deal with the International Monetary Fund, including cleaning up loss making state companies, in an election year.
Having won the vote, Ponta faces a new threat to his government from his arch rival, President Traian Basescu, who has questioned Ponta's constitutional right to form a new administration and threatened to mount a challenge in court.