Romanian govt topples

BUCHAREST: The Romanian government fell Tuesday after losing a no-confidence motion despite Prime Minister Emil Boc's pleas that the collapse of his administration could put an IMF-led economic bailout at risk.

A total of 258 lawmakers approved the motion against 176 who voted for the government.

The opposition had accused Boc of setting up an "illegitimate" interim government, consisting solely of members of his Liberal Democratic Party (PDL), after the Social-Democrats quit the ruling coalition on October 1 in protest at the sacking of one of their ministers.

Addressing both chambers of parliament at the start of the debate, Boc accused the opposition of wanting to block a reform of the pension system, part of a package of measures Bucharest has agreed in exchange for a 20-billion-euro (29.5-million-dollar) bailout by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Union.

After failing to win the vote, Boc said it was "an honour for a government to fall for pitching reforms aimed at suppressing privileges."

It was the first time since 1990 that a government in Romania fell after having failed to win a no-confidence vote.