Romanian defence minister quits

Parliament

Romanian Defence Minister Teodor Atanasiu has resigned, after a long-running row with the president.

In June Atanasiu announced, without having consulted the president, that Romania was pulling troops out of Iraq. President Traian Basescu suspended him last month over allegations he had ordered military intelligence officers to spy on presidential staff. Atanasiu said he quit because the president would not reinstate him "despite evidence I am not guilty". He said he was standing down to spare the armed forces the consequences of a damaging political fight between the coalition partners, President Basescu's Democratic Party and the Liberal Party to which Atanasiu belongs. Basescu has approved the Democratic Party's Sorin Frunzaverde to replace him. Meanwhile, the Liberal prime minister, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, named a party colleague, Varujan Vosganian, to be the country's European commissioner when Romania joins the EU next January. (BBC News)

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