If the impetuous President Traian Basescu has ever wished that he had kept silent, then 9 January 2012 was that day. In an uninspired gesture, Basescu publicly blasted Dr. Raed Arafat for criticizing the government’s health care bill. In response, the founder of the widely lauded emergency-response system (SMURD) handed in his resignation as under-secretary of state in the Ministry of Health. After thousands took to the street in support of Arafat, Basescu retracted his accusations and after three more weeks of protests his Democrat Liberals sacked Prime Minister Emil Boc and his entire cabinet, not before unceremoniously dismissing Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Baconschi for publicly deriding the protesters. The new Prime Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, seen as a potential presidential candidate, was Minister of Foreign Affairs (2004-2007) and head of the External Information Service (2007-2012), but also an alternate member of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League (1985-1989). His cabinet, which is supposed to lead the country until the November parliamentary elections, is considered unlikely to enact significant policies due to lack of time and experience on the part of its members. But it could give the Democrat Liberals the time to prepare the electoral campaign and boost their popularity, gravely affected by the austerity measures of 2010

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