(Bloomberg) -- Romania is facing the prospect of losing a third prime minister in as many years.

The Social Democrat government is on the brink of collapse after its opponents filed a no-confidence motion. Parliament will vote on Thursday, determining whether Prime Minister Viorica Dancila -- already ruling in minority -- can stumble on.

Eastern Europe is no stranger to political turmoil. Only Italy gets close to the number of government heads who’ve come and gone since the region jettisoned communism almost three decades ago. Romania has had 16, so far.

Opposition forces led by the Liberal Party mustered 237 signatures to trigger their challenge this month. They’ll need at least 233 actual votes for success, which seems probable.

“The motion is likely to pass because all parliamentary parties seem to coalesce against the Social Democrats,” Dan Bucsa, an economist at UniCredit in London, said in an emailed note. “The government is desperately trying to negotiate support with different lawmakers.”

  • Parliament convenes at 10 a.m. in Bucharest to debate the no-confidence motion
  • Opposition lawmakers will complain about a lack of investment in infrastructure and health care, as well as recent damage to the judiciary and Romania’s anti-corruption efforts
  • The Social Democrats, whose coalition partner quit in August, will argue that they boosted public salaries, the minimum wage and pensions
  • Voting isn’t likely before 1 p.m. and could take as long as an hour as legislators in the 465-seat assembly place black or white balls into an urn
  • The result will be revealed to media waiting outside the room where the count takes place

If Dancila is toppled, early elections -- which have never happened before in Romania -- remain unlikely because of next month’s presidential vote. The Liberal Party would instead lead a coalition until a fresh ballot can be held.

There are risks to doing so. Opposition forces have struggled in the past for unity, potentially making the new administration weak from the outset. In addition, taking charge at this juncture would saddle the new government with a budget deficit that’s pushing close to European Union limits following years of giveaways.

The political turbulence that’s been a feature of Romania’s political landscape is unlikely to disappear any time soon.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at atimu@bloomberg.net;Irina Vilcu in Bucharest at isavu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrea Dudik at adudik@bloomberg.net, Andrew Langley, Michael Winfrey

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