News 06 Feb 12

Romanian PM Resigns Over Unrest

Romanian PM Emil Boc has announced his resignation in an attempt to calm unrest at his austerity measures.

Marian Chiriac
Bucharest

Boc resigned on Monday morning after weeks of protests against his tough austerity measures.

“I took the decision in order to calm social tensions and, furthermore, for the economic stability of the country not to be affected,” Emil Boc said in a public statement.

Protests over falling wages and the effects of the austerity measures started early in January, with thousands of people taking to the streets across the country demanding the resignation of both the government and President Traian Basescu.

Romania is dependent on a 20 billion euro rescue package from the IMF, the European Union and the World Bank. It obtained the loan in May 2009 in exchange for agreeing to push through austerity measures aimed at taming the country’s deficit.

In July 2010 the government cut civil servants' wages by 25 per cent, while thousands of state jobs were axed and VAT was increased by 5 per cent to 24 per cent.

The protests were stopped in recent days as snow and chilly winds have deterred many Romanians from taking to the outdoors.

The resignation of the Prime Minister comes before the country's parliamentary election due later this year. His Liberal Democratic Party has suffered electorally since Romania was hit by the global recession and was forced to cut public spending drastically.

Boc has already survived ten no confidence votes filed by the opposition over the last two years.

The anti-government protests have boosted further support for the country’s main opposition parties. A recent poll suggested that the opposition Social-Liberal Union, comprising Social Democrats and the Liberals, would win 53.4 per cent of the vote in a general election, up from 48 per cent in a December poll.

Boc's Liberal Democratic Party would get only 15.8 per cent of the vote, down from 21 per cent last month, the survey showed.

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