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Romanian Legislators Topple Government In Vote

BUCHAREST (Reuters) -- Romanian legislators have toppled the centrist minority government in a no-confidence vote, raising the specter of heightened political instability that threatens the country's International Monetary Fund (IMF) accord.

The centrists will remain in power until parliament approves a new government, which commentators say may happen only after the November 22 presidential election that has polarized political groups and set off a sudden coalition split this month.

This could mean difficulty in meeting terms for the 20 billion euro aid package Romania won this year from the IMF to stave off financial crisis, or delays in preparing the 2010 state budget, economists say.

The liberal and leftist opposition are eager to lay the blame for a painful recession, job losses, and falling wages on outgoing Prime Minister Emil Boc, who is a close ally of president Traian Basescu, now a frontrunner in the election.

"What's more important, the president's reelection bid and the political battle or millions of people who lost jobs and a crumbling fragile economy? The answer is clear," Liberal Party politician Eugen Nicolaescu told parliament ahead of the vote.

Deputies voted 258 to 176 in support of the motion.

The Romanian showed muted reaction to the news after hitting its lowest level against the euro in nearly seven months earlier in the session at 4.2970 per euro.

Romania, a relatively poor Balkan state of 22 million people, went through a sharp economic reversal in the last year, because of the global financial crisis.

Because of poor economic policies, it shifted from being the European Union's fastest-growing economy and an attractive destination for foreign investors to a problem zone in dire need of aid.