2 ministers resign in Romania amid political tension in government

Two ministers from the junior party in Romania's ruling coalition have resigned amid political tensions in the center-left alliance.

Finance Minister Daniel Chitoiu and Economy Minister Andrei Gerea, both Liberal Party members, stepped down Wednesday after Prime Minister Victor Ponta refused to accept the Liberals' nomination of Klaus Johannis, the popular mayor of Sibiu city, as interior minister. The position, now vacant, was recently held by another Liberal Party official.

Ponta, leader of the Social Democratic Party, will temporarily head the finance portfolio. He named a party colleague as interim economy minister.

Liberals believe that Ponta wants them out of the government ahead of a presidential election slated for November.

On Wednesday, President Traian Basescu appealed to the coalition leaders "to come to their senses." Speaking at a televised news conference, he said Romania risks being considered politically unstable, if the squabble continues. He appealed to Ponta to agree to "unblock things" by appointing Johannis to a government post.

Parties are struggling to come up with viable candidates to replace Basescu, who will step down as president after 10 years in office.