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Romanian ruling party's junior ally withdraws backing for PM

Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu speaks as he delivers joint statements with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Abir Sultan/Pool/Files

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - The junior member of Romania’s ruling coalition, ALDE, has pulled its ministers out of the six-month-old government led by the Social Democrats and is withdrawing its support for the prime minister, ALDE said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu, a member of the Social Democrats (PSD), has been under pressure to reshuffle his team, with some senior politicians from PSD and ALDE accusing his cabinet of poor performance and failing to uphold the governing programme.

Some analysts have said the programme, which is based on an overly optimistic estimate of economic growth, would push the imposing double-digit wage hikes in the public sector.

“Out of 390 measures in the governing programme, some 260 have not yet been implemented. We’re not talking here only about quantity but of quality of the governing act,” ALDE leader Calin Tariceanu told reporters after a meeting of party officials.

Grindeanu’s cabinet has been under a week-long performance review by the PSD, with a conclusion expected to be announced later in the day. Grindeanu has said he has no reason to resign, but he may be forced to if PSD withdraws its backing.

Tariceanu said the partnership with the PSD was still valid, but the current team of ministers had failed to make genuine reforms of the education and health systems, to create a national sovereign fund as pledged or to issue treasury bills for individuals.

Reporting by Radu Marinas; editing by Mark Heinrich, Larry King