Romania names new prime minister after government collapse

16th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

President Traian Basescu named Croitoru to head the government after the collapse of Emil Boc's centre-right administration in a no-confidence vote on Tuesday.

Bucharest -- Lucian Croitoru, Romania's former representative to the International Monetary Fund, on Thursday became the country's prime minister ahead of key bailout talks with the IMF.

President Traian Basescu named Croitoru to head the government after the collapse of Emil Boc's centre-right administration in a no-confidence vote on Tuesday.

He now has 10 days to form a government and secure the approval of parliament.

Croitoru vowed to "do everything I can to fulfil my mandate. My priorities are to ensure that the presidential elections (on November 22) are properly organised and to keep to our commitments to the IMF, the EU and the World Bank."

President Basescu stressed that Croitoru was someone who was "independent" and well known for his "competence in economic matters" both at a national and an international level.

An economist by training and currently advisor to the head of the Romanian central bank BNR, Croitoru was Bucharest's representative to the IMF between 2003 and 2007.

His appointment, just a week before an IMF mission to Romania, could help persuade the Fund to send a new chunk of the loans as part of its 20-billion-euro (29.5 billion dollar) bailout.

On Wednesday, Basescu had warned: "If we fail to obtain the two tranches of loans, including that due between October and December, we risk finding it impossible to pay salaries and pensions."

Three opposition parties, the Social Democrats (PSD), the Liberals (PNL) and the ethnic Hungarian UMD party had put forward their own candidate for the job: Sibiu Mayor Klaus Iohannis.

Iohannis was elected last year for a third term as the mayor of Sibiu, Europe's cultural capital in 2007. He is widely credited with turning the city into one of Romania's most popular tourist destinations thanks to the extensive renovation of its old centre.

Under the Romanian constitution, the president appoints the prime minister after consultation with the parties represented in parliament.

Boc is the first Romanian prime minister to be ousted by a vote of confidence since the fall of the communist regime in 1989.

Basescu urged the opposition to support his choice.

"The deepening political crisis is beginning to have economic effects," he said. "I call on all parties to understand that Romania urgently needs an effective government."

Romania is already braced for a presidential election on November 22 and the collapse of the government has plunged the country into political crisis as it battles a deep recession.

The instability could jeopardise crucial economic reforms agreed as part of the IMF-led bailout.

The IMF, the World Bank and the European Union agreed to lend Romania 20 billion euros in exchange for reforms, including an overhaul of its pension system and pledges to cut the public deficit, which is expected to top 7.3 percent of gross domestic product this year.

AFP/Expatica

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