Friday, December 17, 2010

Romanian Government to Face No-Confidence on Dec. 20

Romania’s government will face two no-confidence votes on Dec. 20 as the opposition tries for the third time in seven months to topple Prime Minister Emil Boc’s cabinet over austerity measures.

The Liberal and the Social Democratic parties asked for a vote against the government over the bill that raises public wages by 15 percent in 2011 and a separate vote over a unitary wage low that ties future salaries increases to professional performances and experience. Boc urged lawmakers to forego debate and pass the laws in three days to unlock the next payment from an International Monetary Fund bailout.

The opposition has been trying to oust the government since it cut public-sector wages by 25 percent and increased a value- added tax to 24 percent to trim the budget deficit to qualify the conditions of the 20 billion-euro ($26.7 billion) bailout. The parties, with 215 votes, need 236 votes to topple the Cabinet.

“This is how reforms are being done in Romania, very hard and that’s why we have to seek fast-track approval of important laws,” Emil Boc told reporters in Parliament today. “I’m not concerned, I haven’t been concerned about any of the no- confidences I had to face because I know that I am proposing the right measures for the country and I trust the solidity of the ruling coalition.”

Romania, going through the second-deepest recession in the European Union after Greece, is trying to pass the 2011 budget next week and a package of wage bills to curb public spending, narrow the budget deficit and satisfy lenders.

The country stands to receive 2.4 billion euros in payments through March from the bailout provided by the IMF, the EU and the World Bank if lawmakers approve the austerity measures.

“We’re not fooling ourselves that the” no-confidence motion “might pass,” Social Democrat leader Victor Ponta told reporters in Bucharest yesterday. The ruling coalition’s lawmakers “will stick to their desks.”

Boc survived a no-confidence motion in June by eight votes and a similar move in October by 16 votes. If parliament rejects the motion, the government remains in place and the wage bills are approved automatically, meeting the terms of Romania’s bailout accord.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at; Irina Savu in Bucharest at;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez in Prague

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