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Romania's Prime Minster Resigns Following Anti-Austerity Protest

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Gendarme forces move toward protesters in Piata Universitatii square, Bucharest January 19, 2012.

Romania’s Prime Minster Emil Boc has resigned following weeks of public protest against IMF-backed austerity measures amid the debt crisis sweeping the European Union.

Announcing his resignation on Television on Monday, Boc said that he wanted to “defuse political and social tension” and to protect the stability of the country.

“We made this decision in order to alleviate the social and political situation in the country, but to not lose what Romanians have won with so much suffering, the country’s economic stability,” Boc said.

The resignation comes after three weeks of public demonstrations demanding the resignation of President Traian Basescu and the Boc government for imposing harsh austerity measures including a 25 percent cut in public sector wages, 24 percent increase in sales tax and a freeze on pensions.

Romania needed to implement the measures to qualify for the next installment of a 20bn euro bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Boc’s resignation makes Romania the sixth European country to see a prime minister fall to the debt crisis.

Basescu has nominated former Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu as interim Prime Minister on Monday.

The European debt crisis has forced EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, triggering incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries.

There are fears that more delays in resolving the eurozone debt crisis, which began in Greece in late 2009 and infected Italy, Spain and France last year, could push not only Europe but also much of the rest of the developed world back into recession.


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