Vote threatens Romania's government

Thousands of people take to streets to support no-confidence motion over spending cuts and tax rises.

    The government of Emil Boc is facing its second no-confidence vote since he came to power 10 months ago [EPA]

    Romania's government is facing a no-confidence vote in parliament over deep spending cuts and tax rises as thousands of people hold protests against the measures.

    Wednesday's vote also comes as the International Monetary Fund, which approved a $27.8bn loan last year to help its ailing economy, is reviewing the aid deal.

    Analysts believe the centrist government lead by Emil Boc, the prime minister, is likely to survive the ballot, the second it has faced during its 10 months in office.

    "The government should survive the no-confidence vote today," Elisabeth Gruie at BNP Paribas told the Reuters news agency.

    "This should calm somewhat political tensions, albeit the government's position will remain fragile as long as the economy stays weak, which to us will take at least another two years."

    'No money left'

    Up to 30,000 people rallied in front of parliament in Bucharest, the capital, military police told the AFP news agency, while unions said 80,000 people had joined the protest movement.

    Nurses, teachers, police officers, statisticians, electricity plant workers and many other civil servants converged on Bucharest from all over the country.

    "They cut our salaries, our bonuses, they raised taxes. We practically have no money left to live," 49-year-old Maria Dumitras, an accountant, told Reuters.

    "I wish with all my heart this government would leave. We need other rulers that care for people and not for their own interests."

    Demonstrators oppose the drastic austerity cuts implemented since July to curb a rising public deficit.

    Romania pledged to cut spending, including slashing public sector wages and increasing sales tax, after accepting a bailout from the IMF, European Union and World Bank last year.

    Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher, reporting from Bucharest, said although the IMF, World Bank and EU back the government's spending cuts, "the people don't".

    "The latest opinion polls give them [the government] an approval rating of just 15 per cent, the lowest they have ever been," he said.

    The country, the second poorest in the EU, experienced an economic contraction of 7.1 per cent in 2009.

    Romania's opposition needs 236 votes to topple the government in the vote on Wednesday, but only has 212 votes.

    However there is speculation that some politicians may switch sides.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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