Romanian govt falls in no-confidence vote

Apr 27, 2012, 6:42 PM

Associated Press

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) – Romania’s government fell Friday in a no-confidence vote, as opposition parties seized on widespread public anger over biting austerity measures and corruption. The Czech government survived a similar vote.

Thousands of people have protested in both countries in recent months, calling for their governments to abandon the belt-tightening measures and resign in some of the biggest rallies seen since the overthrow of communism in 1989.

In Bucharest, some 235 lawmakers voted against Prime Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, four more votes than needed. Romania’s national currency, the leu, fell close to an all-time low on the news.

Opposition leader Victor Ponta said the victory represented the end “of an abusive system that uses any weapon possible.”

“Sometimes there is justice. Today there was justice,” he declared.

Former Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc, whose 4-year-old government was toppled in February after weeks of often violent protests over austerity measures, called the vote “a victory for opportunism in politics and party swapping.”

President Traian Basescu called for calm, nominated Ponta as the prime minister-designate and asked him to present a governing program and Cabinet to Parliament for approval.

“There was a democratic process in Parliament. There is no reason for panic. Romania’s finance ministry has substantial reserves that can cope with any event,” Basescu said.

Ponta pledged to “give Romanians hope that in Romania things are going in the right direction.”

Romania took a (EURO)20 billion ($26 billion) bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the World Bank in 2009 when its economy shrank 7 percent. The government has hiked the sales tax to 24 percent and slashed public sector wages by one-fourth in 2010 to meet the conditions of the loan, angering many Romanians.

The IMF and European Commission said in a statement they expected Romania to “continue to observe its economic policy commitments to its international partners.”

The Czech government passed its no-confidence vote Friday despite growing public anger against austerity measures and corruption. After nine hours of a heated debate, 105 lawmakers voted in favor of the right-leaning government to avoid early elections while 93 were against it.

Prime Minister Petr Necas vowed to continue with reforms and spending cuts.

“We have to take the steps today. If we postpone them, we will have to adopt them anyway but they will be much more painful,” he told lawmakers.

About 100,000 people rallied in Prague on Saturday, calling on the government to scrap its spending cuts and resign. The following day, the three parties in the center-right government dissolved their coalition.

Czechs are angry about a sales tax hike and an extra 7 percent income tax slapped on high earners. The government has also increased pensions and introduced a new entrance fee for university students.

___

Karel Janicek reported from Prague.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of Army Col. Oleksander Makhachek during a f...
Associated Press

As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?

ZHYTOMYR (AP) — As soon as they had finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and […]
1 month ago
(Instagram photo/@Clayton.Wolfe)...
Wills Rice

Arizona realtor announces new listing on ‘the top-floor’ of Mount Everest

Arizona realtor Clayton Wolfe scaled the treacherous 29,035-foot heights of Mount Everest in Nepal and announced a new listing at the summit.
1 month ago
(Photo by: Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

‘Tiger King’ star ‘Doc’ Antle arrested for money laundering charges

“Tiger King” star “Doc” Antle was arrested by the FBI and expected to appear in court Monday to face federal money laundering charges.
1 month ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in Israel for talks with political and business leaders

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is in Israel for five days of talks with political and business leaders of the Middle Eastern country.
1 month ago
A man rides a bicycle in front of a building ruined by shelling in Borodyanka, on the outskirts of ...
Associated Press

Russia takes steps to bolster army, tighten grip on Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an order Wednesday to fast track Russian citizenship for residents of parts of southern Ukraine largely held by his forces, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the stretched Russian army. Putin’s decree applying to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions could allow Russia to […]
1 month ago
FILE - McDonald's restaurant is seen in the center of Dmitrov, a Russian town 75 km., (47 miles) no...
Associated Press

De-Arching: McDonald’s to sell Russia business, exit country

McDonald’s is closing its doors in Russia, ending an era of optimism and increasing the country’s isolation over its war in Ukraine. The Chicago burger giant confirmed Monday that it is selling its 850 restaurants in Russia. McDonald’s said it will seek a buyer who will employ its 62,000 workers in Russia, and will continue […]
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Romanian govt falls in no-confidence vote