The Associated Press February 8, 2012, 1:58PM ET

Romania's newly appointed premier names his govt

Romania's newly appointed prime minister named his government Wednesday, a mix of old and new ministers who citizens hope can better tackle the country's financial woes.

The announcement came two days after Emil Boc, who had been prime minister since 2008, resigned following widespread protests over austerity measures and declining living standards.

Prime Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, the head of Romania's foreign intelligence service, said seven ministers will remain and new, younger ministers were nominated for the key portfolios of economy, finance, interior ministry and agriculture.

Later Wednesday, he resigned as head of the foreign intelligence service, before a vote in Parliament Thursday on his Cabinet.

All the new ministers are members of the Democratic Liberal Party, the main group in the ruling coalition.

The ruling coalition and its minority partners have enough votes to approve the government. The opposition has said it will boycott.

"This is a government that deserves trust and is ready to prove that this is a change of political generation and of governing principles," Ungureanu said. "I call for competence, decency, modesty ... and a willingness for dialogue."

Ungureanu named Bogdan Dragoi, head of government debt policy, to be the new finance minister, and Lucian Bode, a 37-year-old former power company engineer as economy minister. Bode will also be responsible for the energy sector, a key area the International Monetary Fund wants Romania to reform.

Ungureanu, a 43-year-old with a pro-American outlook, says he will resign his present job as the country's spy chief. He is not a member of any party but previously served as foreign minister and is considered a close ally of Romanian President Traian Basescu.

Parliament must approve Ungureanu and his ministers in 60 days, or the legislature will be dissolved and new elections held.

Romanians took to the streets last month amid widespread anger about cuts the government instituted to get a euro20 billion ($26 billion) loan in 2009 from the IMF, the European Union and the World Bank in 2009. The government needed the money to help pay salaries and pensions after its economy shrank more than 7 percent during the global credit crunch.

There was a wide perception that the previous government did not care about the hardships being faced by most of its people.

Sales tax remains at 24 percent, one of the highest levels in the EU, and the government is still cutting public sector jobs to reduce spending.

The IMF says the Romanian economy will grow from 1.8 percent to 2.3 percent in 2012.


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