BUCHAREST, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Romanian Senate President Crin Antonescu on Tuesday announced his resignation at a joint sitting of parliament.
"I resign from the position of Senate President," Antonescu unexpectedly told the plenary sitting of Parliament, as many of the ruling senators and deputies calling out on him to resign.
Actually, Antonescu's move was the result of a prolonged verbal dispute with Prime Minister Victor Ponta at the plenary sitting.
Antonescu, addressing the legislature earlier, had called on Ponta to tender resignation together from the positions given by the just-collapsed Social Liberal Union (USL).
"You don't have the courage, for a very simple reason," Antonescu said to Ponta, continuing that "I remain the same if I'm no longer the president of the Senate, my hands are not at all tied, on the other hand you are nothing, if resigning from prime minister."
In reply to the request, Ponta said he has no intention of resigning, making reference to a former statement of Antonescu in 2012 when he announced that he would end his political careers if the referendum held to impeach President Traian Basescu would not passed.
Right after that, Antonescu announced his resignation.
Ponta soon expressed surprise at Antonescu's decision, commenting that when one holds such an important position, the decision is never personal.
The two Chambers of Parliament gathered at a plenary session on Tuesday afternoon to vote on the investiture of the new coalition government made of the Social Democratic Party, the Conservative Party, the National Union for the Progress of Romania and Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania.
The new coalition cabinet was approved in the Parliament late Tuesday with 346 votes in favor, much more than the 288 votes required.
The opposition Democratic Liberal Party voted against the draft and the composition of the new cabinet, as well as the National Liberal Party which last week announced its withdrawal from the former ruling coalition.
Leader of the National Liberal Party Antonescu last Tuesday decided to withdraw its ministers from the government, announcing the split of the ruling Social Liberal Union, an alliance forged by the Social Democratic Party, the National Liberal Party, the Conservative Party and the National Union for the Progress of Romania.
The first USL cabinet was sworn into office in May 2012, after a no-confidence motion toppled the ruling, and in December the same year, the USL won a sweeping victory in Romania's quadrennial parliamentary elections.