BUCHAREST, Romania -- The election-winning Liberal Democratic Party (PDL) and the Social Democratic Party (PSD) agreed on Wednesday (December 17th) on the distribution of portfolios in the future coalition government. The PDL gets nine of the 18 minister seats, including finance, economy, defence, communications, culture and tourism. The PSD gets the rest, including labour, health, education, interior, foreign affairs and environment. An independent expert will head the justice ministry.
Meanwhile, outgoing Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu urged the PDL and the PSD to revise their governance programme, which, he said, will impoverish the country and "bury the economy". "Romania needs anti-crisis, not unrealistic, measures," he stressed.
In other news, Defence Minister Teodor Melescanu said on Wednesday the country will withdraw its troops from Iraq by August 2009. The Romanian army "is not an occupying force" in Iraq, he said.
Also Wednesday, the Irish government decided to maintain labour restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians after January 1st 2009. Ireland, will however, apply favourable conditions to the two countries' citizens compared to citizens of non EU-countries, the government said. (Evenimentul Zilei - 18/12/08; Mediafax, Agerpres, Hotnews, Ziare - 17/12/08)