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The Romanian prime minister has announced he and his government will resign immediately to protect the stability of the country.

Emil Boc said on Monday he was resigning "to ease the social situation" – referring to weeks of protests in Romania over austerity measures he introduced in 2010.

Boc, who became prime minister in 2008, urged Romania's feuding politicians to be mature and rapidly vote for a new government.

He defended his record, saying he had taken "difficult decisions thinking about the future of Romania, not because I wanted to, but because I had to".

He added that the International Monetary Fund had forecast growth of up to 2% this year – lower than expected, but higher than the European Union average.

Romania signed up for a $26bn (£16bn) loan with the IMF, the EU and the World Bank in 2009 to help pay salaries and pensions, after the economy shrank by more than 7%.

In 2010, the government increased sales tax from 19% to 24% and cut public workers' salaries by a quarter to reduce the budget deficit.

In January, Romanians staged weeks of protests to express anger at cronyism and a perception that the government was not interested in the problems of ordinary people in this country with a population of 22 million.

They protested against low living standards, widespread corruption and the passage of some laws without a parliamentary debate.

"I know that I made difficult decisions, but the fruits have begun to appear," Boc said in a statement. "The most important thing is the economic stability of the country," he said, adding, "In times of crisis, the government is not in a popularity contest, but is saving the country."

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/06/romanian-pm-emil-boc-resigns

Tag(s) : #Europe