Thursday, April 19, 2012

Romania govt faces censure vote on privatisation

BUCHAREST, April 18 (Reuters) - Romania's leftist opposition filed a no-confidence motion against the new centrist coalition government on Wednesday in protest at what it said were plans to sell mineral rights to foreign companies without proper debate.

With too few parliamentary seats to pass the motion, the move is more a political swipe at the two-month-old administration of Prime Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu than a genuine attempt to unseat him, but adds pressure to the troubled three-party coalition.

"This is an important signal against the government's policy against citizens, which is pursued the same way as under the previous government," said Mircea Dusa, parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats, the main group in the USL opposition alliance.

Ungureanu replaced Emil Boc as prime minister in February after the latter resigned following nationwide anti-austerity protests.

Boc had initiated a privatisation drive, which includes selling rights to copper mining or minority stakes in energy companies, under an International Monetary Fund-led bailout.

Ungureanu hopes a return to economic growth in the European Union's second poorest nation, where 3 percent of the population eke out a living from $40 a month, will give his government a chance in a parliamentary election in November.

The opposition is expected to read the motion in parliament next week. A date for the vote has yet to be scheduled.

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