Monday, December 22, 2008

Romania's PM designate pledges to cut spending

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's parliament approved a new government on Monday after the prime minister designate vowed to cut public spending by 20 percent to try to deal with a looming economic crisis.

Emil Boc's center-left government was approved in a 324-115 vote by parliament, after the two main coalition partners won 70 percent of seats in Nov. 30 elections.

"The crisis is not an excuse to not have reforms," Boc said before the vote. "We will have a measured government that will reduce costs by 20 percent." The new government "has two messages," he said: "More work and (we will use) the same cars, same offices and the same sofas."

The government was sworn in late Monday by President Traian Basescu.

Boc, 42, heads the Democratic Liberal Party, which will control the economy, defense and finance ministries.

The other main coalition party is the Social Democratic Party. Its leader, Mircea Geoana, is the new head of the Senate. The new head of the lower chamber of deputies is a former Miss Romania, Roberta Anastase of the Democratic Liberal Party.

Romania, which joined the European Union in 2007, has enjoyed 8 percent annual economic growth over the last three years, but thousands of layoffs have been announced in recent weeks and growth is expected to be 4 percent at best in 2009.

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