Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Romanian Premier Seen Surviving Parliamentary No-Confidence Vote

Romanian Premier Emil Boc will probably survive the opposition’s latest attempt to oust him in a no-confidence vote as the government pushes through labor laws to meet the terms of its international bailout loan.

Boc’s coalition, which holds a majority in the 470-seat Parliament, will help him stay in power in today’s vote by refraining from casting ballots. Such an outcome would automatically approve a labor bill that introduces contracts for temporary workers and increases sanctions for black market labor.

“Mathematically speaking, the no-confidence has very low chances of passing especially if the members of the ruling coalition don’t vote,” said Cristian Parvulescu, a political analyst at the Bucharest-based group Asociatia Pro Democratia.

Romania, whose economy went through the worst recession on record over the past two years, passed the 2011 budget, a revised pension law and a law setting 2011 wages to curb public spending, narrow the budget deficit and satisfy the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, from which it secured a 20 billion-euro bailout ($28 billion) in 2009 to stay afloat.

Boc asked lawmakers to pass the labor law in three days without debates, in a fast-track process. This enabled the opposition, which failed in four similar votes last year over public wage cuts and tax increases, to file the no-confidence motion.
Fast Track

The government wants fast-track approval of changes to the labor law to make the legislation more flexible. The law, agreed with the IMF and the World Bank, would also insure higher social protection for employees.

The ruling coalition, facing elections next year, has lost public support over the measures taken to qualify for the bailout and President Traian Basescu said on Feb. 15 that Boc’s Cabinet needs “another governing style” to “boost the economy, not just get it out of the crisis.”

Media including news service Mediafax, newspaper Gandul and private television stations Realitatea TV and Antena3, have cited unidentified people as saying that Boc may resign to pave the way for a new government backed by the same ruling coalition.

“The internal struggle in the ruling party is really intense and all the eyes are focused on that right now, after the president launched the debate about replacing Boc,” Parvulescu said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Irina Savu in Bucharest at isavu@bloomberg.net; 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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