Romanian minister quits over ‘punks and prostitutes’ comment

Romanian transport minister Ioan Rus resigns after labelling Romanians working abroad as as ‘punks and prostitutes’

Photo by: Ministerul transporturilor
Photo by: Ministerul transporturilor

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Romania’s transport minister and a member of prime minister Victor Ponta’s ruling coalition Ioan Rus resigned on Thursday over statements he made concerning Romanian foreign workers.

Rus said in a TV interview that "for a salary of maybe 1,500 euros [$1,600], their children become thugs and their wives prostitutes."

The association of Romanians working abroad, FADERE, criticised the Romanian minister and called his comments an “irresponsible insult.”

FADERE added that workers living abroad have sent Romania nearly 35 billion euros since 2008.

Following his comments, Rus apologised and said that he commented on this issue to highlight a serious problem in Romania.

The minister’s resignation came just before a confidence vote on Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s government.

Ponta and his governing center left coalition on Friday will face a vote of no-confidence demanded by Romania’s centrist opposition in parliament.

On Tuesday, Ponta said his government will “survive” the vote of no-confidence, which he claimed will end the political crisis in the country and will allow a return to focusing on the government’s upcoming International Monetary Fund (IMF) talks.

“I am convinced that after Friday’s vote in parliament things will be clear: we either have a solid majority - and I believe we do - or we’ll have another majority.”

Ponta said that "the leu's exchange rate, all data regarding investors' trust in Romania have yet to be altered so that's why it is fundamental to show that we are not dealing with a long-term crisis."

Romania is to meet with the IMF and European Commission in early July to revise Romania’s 4 billion aid deal and its plans for tax cuts.

The Romanian National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) has accused Ponta of using fake documents from a law firm to buy apartments and car when he worked as a lawmaker in the Social Democratic Party (PSD) between 2007 and 2008.

At the beginning of June, the DNA started a criminal investigation into Ponta over allegations of money forgery, tax evasion, money laundry, and conflict of interest. Because Ponta’s immunity has to be lifted by the Romanian parliament for further investigations, DNA prosecutors filed petitions calling for the abolishment of Ponta’s immunity.

The Romanian parliament rejected the DNA’s request to lift Ponta’s immunity on Tuesday.

The request was rejected with the support of 231 members of parliament, while the other 120 voted to lift Ponta’s immunity. According to AP, since Ponta’s centre left coalition dominates parliament the result was expected.

TRTWorld and agencies