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President criticizes gov’t for U-turn on salary increase

July 10, 2015

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s president has criticized the government after the prime minister reversed a decision to hike salaries for public employees.

Premier Victor Ponta had knee surgery in Istanbul on June 15 and only resumed his duties Thursday. In his absence, the acting prime minister increased salaries for public workers, which President Klaus Iohannis praised.

Ponta said late Thursday he disagreed with the measure and reversed it. Iohannis said Friday the development “raises the question whether Romania has a functional government.”

Relations have deteriorated between the two since Ponta was named in a corruption probe and Iohannis urged him to resign, which he refused.

Prosecutors say Ponta is suspected of conflict of interest, money laundering and tax evasion for work he did as a lawyer in 2007 to 2008. He denies wrongdoing.

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