Romanian Prime Minister Steps Down
Boc’s resignation came on the heels of massive, nationwide protests aimed austerity measures imposed by the International Monetary Fund when the struggling Romanian economy took a bailout of around $26 billion.
Filling the gap left by Boc will be the duty of Catalin Predoiu, Boc’s justice minister. She will likely hold the position until regularly scheduled elections, which should be held no later than November.
Romania’s economy appeared to have hit a growth spurt prior to the global economic downturn.
Romania suffered a sharp reversal of fortune as the global financial crisis worsened and foreign lending tightened up. After the economy grew 7.3 percent in 2008, it shrank a painful 6.6 percent in 2009, according to Eurostat, the European Union's statistics agency. The country was forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Union in 2009 for emergency loans totally $27 billion at the exchange rates at the time.
However, despite Boc’s resignation, the protests, and an abysmal governmental approval rating, Romania appears reaching the goals laid out by lenders.
According to the New York Times:
"I don’t anticipate the change in government would necessarily cause any major changes in that,” said Jeffrey Franks, the fund’s mission chief for Romania, in a telephone interview from Bucharest. “The key focus is to maintain the hard-fought, hard-won economic stability that Romania has achieved at some considerable sacrifice in recent years.”
Romania appears to be a nation that was getting things right in many ways and was simply slammed by an economic crisis that was beyond it’s control.
According to Reuters:
Committed at some stage to adopting the euro single currency under the terms of its accession to the EU in 2007, Romania is the 27-nation bloc's second poorest member and is still struggling with the economic legacy of communist state control.
It was forced to seek IMF aid in 2009 to maintain investor confidence, prevent a run on the currency and keep borrowing costs at sustainable levels, even though its public debt to gross domestic product ratio was the fourth lowest in the EU.
Boc referred to the progress the small nation has made in recent years in his resignation speech.
"I took this decision to release the tension in the country's political and social situation, but also in order not to lose what Romanians have won," Boc said in a televised speech, his voice calm.
However, despite any progress that might have been made in Romania, citizens seem to feel that it isn’t enough.
According to Reuters:
They are angry about low living standards and what they say is widespread corruption, in a country where the average wage is less than 350 euros ($460) a month and some villages and even parts of Bucharest have no running water or electricity.