The Romanian Prime Minister Has Resigned After Three Weeks of Anti-Austerity Protests

Protest Romania

Photo: AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

This post originally appeared at GlobalPostEmil Boc, the prime minister of Romania, has resigned after three weeks of street protests against his government’s anti-austerity measures.

Boc announced the decision to “give up the government’s mandate” after meeting with his cabinet, in a speech broadcast live on national television Monday morning.

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It is hoped the move will “defuse political and social tension,” the BBC quoted him as saying. “It is the moment for important political decisions.”

The announcement comes after thousands of protesters demanded that Boc and President Traian Băsescu resign and early elections be called, decrying wage cuts, tax hikes and alleged government corruption.

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Taxes have increased and public wages have dropped by 25 per cent since 2009, when the Romanian government took a two-year $27.5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the World Bank. In return, Romania pledged to impose the tough austerity measures that are now attracting public ire.

According to the Associated Press, Boc defended his record, saying that he had taken “difficult decisions thinking about the future of Romania, not because I wanted to, but because I had to.”

The next elections in Romania are not due until November. In the meantime, President Băsescu may choose to appoint a technocrat caretaker government, the BBC said.

The left-wing USL opposition alliance has been leading in opinion polls with more than 50 per cent approval, Reuters reported. Boc’s ruling PDL party scores less than 20 per cent.

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