dw.de | April 27, 2012
Romania’s center-right government has fallen in a no-confidence vote submitted by leftist parties. Leftist opposition leader Victor Ponta has been picked by President Traian Basescu to form a new cabinet .
Romania’s short-lived center-right government has collapsed in a no-confidence motion tabled by left-leaning opposition parties.
They had seized on public anger over cronyism and austerity measures prompted by a 2009 bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union (EU).
At a special session of the Bucharest parliament, speaker Gregorean Pop said 235 lawmakers out of 460 had voted against the government of Prime Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, less than three months after it came to power. The no-confidence tally was four more than the threshold of 231 votes.
Within hours, President Traian Basescu designated the head of the opposition Social-Liberal Union (USL), Victor Ponta, to form a new government.
“He was the only proposition made by three political parties,” Basescu said. Ponta has ten days to draft a cabinet line-up and ask parliament for backing.
Earlier on Friday, Ponta had told reporters his party was “ready to assume responsibility. Today justice was done.”
The turmoil underscores dissatisfaction with belt-tightening in European countries that are not members of the debt-plagued eurozone. After the vote, Romania’s currency, the leu, incurred its biggest daily loss of the year to trade at 4.401 against the euro.
In 2009, Romania was forced to call on the IMF and the EU for a 20-billion-euro (26-billion-dollar) lifeline. Resulting cuts in Romanian public sector wages and pensions, and privatizations of national assets, led in February to the fall of Romania’s previous government under then premier Emil Boc.
In opinion surveys the opposition leftist USL recently scored more than 50 percent support, placing it as favorite to win Romania’s next scheduled parliamentary election, which is due in November.
The cuts and public sector job losses have left millions of Romanians struggling to make ends meet. Salaries average less than 400 euros a month. While unemployment is only 5 percent, many Romanians have left the country, causing a 10 percent drop in population in the last decade.
ipj/tj (Reuters, AP, AFP)
This article was written by Matthew Zuvela.