Ponta to take over from Mihai Razvan Ungureanu

Romania's PM-designate to reassure IMF on reforms

GMT 16:06 2012 Saturday ,28 April

Arab Today, arab today Romania's PM-designate to reassure IMF on reforms

Romanian prime minister-designate Victor Ponta
Bucharest - AFP

Romanian prime minister-designate Victor Ponta Romania's leftist prime minister-designate Victor Ponta said on Saturday he would reassure the IMF of his intention to continue reforms agreed with the international lender .
"A meeting will take place Monday with the IMF and the current finance minister so that they will see the continuity but also the vision of the government that I will propose next week," Ponta said in the central city of Brasov.
Romanian President Traian Basescu named Ponta to take over from Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, whose centre-right government collapsed on Friday after a no-confidence motion submitted by the opposition criticising its privatisation plans.
Basescu was quick to address market jitters, saying: "Nothing dramatic happened today, this is democracy," adding that there was "no reason for panic on the financial markets."
Ungureanu's government fell just as experts from the International Monetary Fund and European Union were in Bucharest conducting a review of Romania's economic reforms.
Under a stand-by agreement concluded in March 2011, Bucharest agreed to rein in public spending and to privatise several state energy companies.
The IMF and the EU said they would continue their technical work with the Romanian authorities and return to Bucharest to resume formal discussions with the new government once it is formed.
"We have every expectation that Romania will continue to observe its economic policy commitments to its international partners," the IMF said in a statement.
"Sound macroeconomic policy and continued structural reforms remain essential for Romania's economic recovery and long-term growth," it said.
An open admirer of Bolivian revolutionary Che Guevara, Ponta describes himself as a hardline leftist.
However he said recently that if he were appointed prime minister he would stick to the 2011 stand-by arrangement, which provided a fresh credit line worth five billion euros ($6.8 billion dollars) to be drawn on only in case of emergency.
Romania was forced to call on the IMF and the EU in 2009 for a 20 billion euro lifeline and took drastic measures in return to curb spending, cutting public sector wages by 25 percent and freezing pensions in 2010.
It also agreed to privatise national assets, including Romania's biggest copper mining company Cupru Min, and it sold minority stakes in several energy firms.
Ponta's mandate will be a short one, with general elections due in November.
Ungureanu's government lasted less than three months.

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