BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania's leftist Social Democrat Party (PSD) and their junior ally have won an outright majority in both houses of parliament after a national election, final results showed on Thursday, winning them the right to name the next prime minister.
The PSD, which promised higher wages and pensions during the campaign for Sunday's election, has a combined 221 deputies and senators in the two houses, the Central Electoral Bureau said.
With its long-time ally, the ALDE grouping, the PSD will control 250 of the combined 465 seats in the two chambers, allowing them to pass legislation fairly smoothly.
- Labrador retriever fetches top U.S. dog breed honor for record 28th year7 Pictures
- Oscars 2019: Red carpet looks and full list of winners36 Pictures
President Klaus Iohannis has invited political parties for talks on a new government, but the PSD declined to meet him on Wednesday, saying it would only propose a candidate for prime minister after the new parliament is sworn in next Tuesday.
PSD leader Liviu Dragnea, 54, who keeps tight control of his party, has remained in his post as party chief despite being convicted earlier this year for rigging a 2012 referendum for which he received a suspended jail sentence.
Iohannis, who hails from the center-right but as head of state must be politically neutral, has said he will nominate the country's next prime minister from the parliamentary majority but has also made clear he will refuse to accept any candidate with a criminal record.
It remains unclear whether the PSD, which lost power a year ago amid mass street protests against corruption, will still nominate Dragnea or put forward an alternative candidate.
The prime minister and his cabinet will need to win a vote of confidence in parliament with at least 233 votes to take office.
The final election results showed the center-right National Liberal Party, Iohannis' former party, in second place with 99 seats. The newly formed Save Romanian Union got 43 seats, the ethnic Hungarian UDMR 30 seats and the PMP center-right party of former president Traian Basescu 26 seats.
The new government will replace a cabinet of technocrats that ran Romania for a fixed one-year period following the previous PSD administration's resignation last year.
(Reporting by Radu Marinas; Editing by Gareth Jones)