Romania has been plunged into political gridlock after its minority government was ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament.
The ruling centrists will stay on as a caretaker administration but it is thought a new government is unlikely before a presidential election on November 22. The vote was called by the liberal and leftist opposition after Prime Minister Emil Boc’s coalition cabinet split earlier this month amid an internal power struggle. He remains defiant in the face of defeat, vowing his party would stick to its principles. He said they would continue to “promote justice, honesty and a common sense approach to public spending on wages and pensions.” President Traian Basescu, who is standing for re-election and is an ally of Boc, has promised to nominate a new premier soon. But he condemned political parties for deepening the countries problems in a time of severe recession. Among the government measures that provoked today’s vote was a bill to increase the retirement age for men and women. It is part of a programme of public spending cuts that have severely undermined the government’s popularity. But the International Monetary Fund has made austerity measures a condition for a 20 billion euro loan Romania is seeking to stave off financial collapse. The country has been hit hard by the world recession, going from the EU’s fastest growing economy to one of its worst performing.