New Romania PM unveils technocrat government

Romanian designated Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos (R) adresses the media next to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis (L) at the Cotroceni Palace, the Romanian Presidency headquarters in Bucharest, on November 10, 2015 (AFP Photo/Daniel Mihailescu) (AFP/File)

Bucharest (AFP) - Romania's prime minister-designate Dacian Ciolos named a technocrat government on Sunday, tapping European Union experts as well as private-sector leaders to steer the country until elections next year.

Ciolos, 46, was tasked on Tuesday by President Klaus Iohannis with forming a new government after ex-premier Victor Ponta stepped down following mass anti-government protests sparked by a nightclub fire that killed 55 people in Bucharest.

Amid a popular rejection of a political class seen as corrupt and blamed for the tragedy, Iohannis supported having a technocrat government run the country until legislative elections set for the end of 2016.

"My goal was to name competent and experienced people, Romanians who work in European Union administration or in civil society," said Ciolos, a former EU agriculture commissioner.

Ex-International Monetary Fund expert and European Commission analyst Anca Paliu-Dragu has been named to head the finance ministry, a key post with the government's first order of business being to prepare a 2016 budget.

Incoming justice minister Cristina Guseth worked for the European Commission in Bucharest and since 1998 has headed the Romanian branch of pro-democracy group Freedom House.

Romania's former ambassador the EU, Mihnea Motoc, was named minister of defence, while an advisor to the Romanian delegation to Brussels, Achim Irimescu, was given the post of agriculture minister.

The Ministry of European Funds will be headed by an official from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, Aura Raducu, while career diplomat Lazar Comanescu, a former foreign minister, has been tapped to for foreign affairs.

Several members of the incoming government, including heads of economy and communications, are from the private and non-profit sectors.

Ciolos is expected to be confirmed in a vote of confidence on Tuesday in parliament. He has the backing of the opposition conservatives and will likely get the support of the Social Democrats, who were in power before Ponta resigned.