Romanian prime minister, gov't ousted in no-confidence vote

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Romania's prime minister and his government were ousted Wednesday in a no-confidence vote submitted by members of his own party.

A total of 241 lawmakers approved the motion, more than the 233 votes required. The governing Social Democratic Party filed the motion to oust Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu, saying that he had failed to implement the party's political agenda.

Grindeanu, in office since January, had refused to resign and rejects the assessment of his performance. He claims powerful party leader Liviu Dragnea wants to replace him with a party loyalist.

"This is a sad day for us. The premier did not perform," Dragnea told lawmakers before the vote Wednesday. "It didn't go badly, it went quite well, but that's not enough."

Dragnea himself is barred from being prime minister because of a 2016 conviction for vote-rigging.

Speaking from the government offices, Grindeanu later said he would remain in office until a new government is installed.

He said it was "important we get out of this blockage and send a message to investors and governments all over the world that Romania remains a stable and predictable environment."

After the vote was announced, some Social Democrats hugged each other. The party will now choose a candidate for prime minister who needs to be nominated by President Klaus Iohannis. Talks with the president are scheduled for Monday and Iohannis has the right to refuse a candidate. Parliament then votes to approve the new government.