Romanian lawmakers elected former Interior Minister Vasile Blaga as head of the Senate as the ruling coalition strengthened its hold on the chamber.
The Social Democrats, who form the opposition together with the Liberals, lost the position after they expelled former Senate Chairman Mircea Geoana from the party on Nov. 22, triggering a vote to fill the job. Geoana had held the post since 2008, before the current ruling coalition took power.
Blaga won 69 votes, while his opponent,Titus Corlatean of the Social Democrats, garnered 63.
Prime Minister Emil Boc’s Liberal-Democrats have seen their public support cut by almost half to 22.5 percent, according to the latest poll done by the pollster IRES, after the government slashed public wages and increased a value-added tax to lower the budget deficit and meet pledges to international lenders.
The Social Democrats and the Liberal Party, which now form an alliance and will probably run together at the next general elections in 2012, would get 49.5 percent, according to the same poll.
The government needs the support of the Ethnic Hungarian Party and the Independent Party to secure a majority in the 470- seated Parliament.
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