The leadership of the National Liberal Party - PNL, a senior member of the governing coalition, starts a campaign on Thursday to collect signatures in support of the withdrawal of Romanian troops from Iraq.

The campaign will start in Bucharest and aims at collecting 300,000 signatures as the party considers that a scheduled withdrawal is a must for Romania, as most countries participating to the coalition forces in Iraq, including the US and the UK, have announced similar moves, a PNL press release says.

The campaign comes as a surprise PNL push to obtain the support of the Parliament for the withdrawal was rejected by the top national security council recently. That request, submitted by Defence minister Teodor Atanasiu on behalf of the PNL, sparked huge controversies as the group had not consulted Romania’s Western allies prior to their move.