Friday, February 25, 2011

Romanian Government Seeks Confidence Vote on Labor, Boc Told TVR

Romania’s government will seek a confidence vote in Parliament next week as it plans a fast-track approval of labor legislation changes, Prime Minister Emil Boc said late yesterday at the public television station TVR.

The opposition parties will probably try to oust Boc through a no-confidence motion, the head of the social-democrats Victor Ponta said last week. Boc said the ruling coalition agreed on the vote and he is optimistic that the changes will be approved and his government will survive.

Boc, who survived four no-confidence votes in 2010 over his administration’s austerity measures, is counting on a majority of 249 votes in a 470-seated Parliament to survive. The opposition needs 236 votes to oust the government. President Traian Basescu said on Feb. 15 that the cabinet needed “another governing style” and he opened talks with coalition parties to regain confidence in the government.

A decision on potential changes in the government will be made after the junior coalition party of ethnic Hungarians holds internal elections on Feb. 26-27, Basescu said.

“I think the changes in the labor legislation will pass, I’m not scared of a new no-confidence vote” Boc told TVR. “Through these changes we try to make the labor market more flexible, introduce contracts for temporary workers and increase sanctions for black market labor while insuring higher social protection for the employees.”

The government also plans to reduce the social contributions for health, pension and unemployment this year and the percentage will depend on the economic situation, Boc said.

The ruling coalition, facing elections next year, lost public support after public-pay cuts and tax increases to qualify for the bailout. The economy contracted on an annual basis for an eighth quarter in the final three months of last year. The government forecasts 1.5 percent growth this year.

Backing for Boc’s Liberal Democratic Party was cut in half in a year to 18 percent, after it pushed through the austerity measures, according to a poll conducted on Jan. 8 and Jan. 9 by the Bucharest-based polling company CCSB.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at atimu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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