Romania gov’t collapses as coalition partner quits

Romania’s coalition government collapsed Thursday after nine ministers from the Social Democrats quit to protest the firing of the interior minister for comments about possible election fraud.
Social Democratic Party leader Mircea Geoana said the ministers resigned “in solidarity” with Dan Nica, a party member fired by Prime Minister Emil Boc on Monday over a statement he made about potential fraud in the upcoming Nov. 22 election.The comments were widely interpreted as an accusation that Boc’s Liberal Democrats might try to cheat to get President Traian Basescu re-elected.

The coalition collapse goes far beyond the ministers. Thousands of Social Democrats will now lose their jobs in national and local posts throughout Romania.

Liberal Democrat Adriean Videanu, who is economy minister, blamed the Social Democrats for this crisis and called the party “hypocritical” for walking out.

“The Social Democratic Party is sacrificing the country for a person. It is sacrificing the country and it is sacrificing the interests of Romanians,” Videanu said. “Their only agenda is the presidential elections.”

He said the party could have chose another minister from its ranks rather than quit the government.

Boc is likely to try and find ministers from his Democratic Liberal Party and have a minority government until the presidential election. He may also seek an alliance with a party that represents the interests of Romania’s 1.4 million ethnic Hungarians.

Basescu’s office cut short a visit to Cluj in northwest Romania to return early to Bucharest because of the crisis.

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