Romania names new prime minister as coalition deal looms


FORMER WORLD Bank official Theodor Stolojan was named yesterday as the new prime minister of Romania, as it seeks a strong new government to guide it through the fallout of the world economic crisis.

Mr Stolojan was nominated by his close ally, Romanian president Traian Basescu, to return to a post he held in 1991-1992, when an impoverished Romania was struggling to overcome the grim legacy of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and to institute free-market reforms.

In 1992 he moved to the World Bank, where a six-year stint earned him a reputation for financial competence.

Announcing his nomination, Mr Basescu described Mr Stolojan (65) as someone who is “capable of handling the effects of the economic crisis and has the necessary authority to ensure the smooth functioning of government”.

Mr Stolojan said the next government, which has yet to be formed after November 30th elections, had “two extremely urgent missions”: to draft a 2009 budget and revive reforms that stalled when the previous ruling coalition collapsed and Mr Basescu became embroiled in a feud with outgoing prime minister Calin Tariceanu.

Mr Stolojan has 10 days to secure a parliamentary vote of approval for his candidacy, his cabinet and his programme.

Mr Stolojan’s election-winning Liberal Democrats (PDL) and the second-placed Social Democrats (PSD) were bullish about their chances of forming a coalition that would control more than two-thirds of the seats in parliament. They appeared poised to overcome years of mutual hostility

“We’re on the point of signing a ‘partnership for Romania’ that will combine elements of the programmes of both parties, so that a government can quickly be formed that will be able to address Romanians’ concerns,” said PDL chief Emil Boc.