Thursday, September 24, 2009

Romanian government faces no-confidence vote

BUCHAREST, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Romania's centre-left government faces a no-confidence vote in parliament on Thursday over fiscal reforms promoted by the IMF but deemed ineffective by the centrist opposition.

The vote is seen as a key test of the nine-month-old cabinet's ability to agree on painful policies ahead of a Nov. 22 presidential election and to meet conditions for a 20-billion-euro ($29.45 billion) IMF package it secured in March.

Commentators have said the cabinet of Prime Minister Emil Boc, which controls about 70 percent of parliament seats, is expected to survive and get a seal of approval for tough spending cuts required by International Monetary Fund (IMF) in return for aid.

Both the ruling Social Democrat Party and their Democrat-Liberals partners said they would boycott the vote.'We will not be voting ... the IMF accord is Romania's top priority so a no-confidence vote is useless,' Health Minister Ionut Bazac said before the vote, expected to take place later in the day.

Designed to slash public-sector costs and streamline bloated administration, the reforms should ease the financial burden on state coffers and free up cash for investment in the long term.

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