By Andra Timu
Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Romania’s Constitutional Court rejected a law that merged holding local and parliamentary elections on the same day after it was challenged by the opposition.
The nine-judge court panel ruled against the law on grounds it is unconstitutional, Acsinte Gaspar, a judge, said in a phone interview in Bucharest today. The opposition Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Party challenged the law in court after Prime Minister Emil Boc survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament on Dec. 22, which was tied to the new election law. Winning the vote helped Boc push it through the assembly.
“The government will respect the court’s ruling,” Boc said today, according to Mediafax news service, adding that he will say more after the court publishes its motivation for the decision.
Boc’s government sought to hold the elections at the same time this year to cut spending as part of its pledges to narrow the country’s budget gap to 1.9 percent of gross domestic product from an estimated 4.4 percent in 2011. Merging the elections next year would save the state some 20 million euros ($26 million), according to the government’s estimates.
Victor Ponta, the head of the social-democrats, demanded Boc’s resignation at a press conference in Bucharest today on grounds he won a confidence vote on “a law that is unconstitutional,” he said.
Boc has embarked on an austerity program this year to reassure investors that his government will maintain fiscal discipline before the elections, after signing a new two-year 5 billion-euro precautionary agreement with its international lenders this year. No election date has been set yet.
--Editors: Elizabeth Konstantinova, Douglas Lytle
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