Austrian Finance Minister Resigns
VIENNA, Austria (AP) _ Finance Minister Ferdinand Lacina, galled by unusually strong public criticism of budget cuts he helped draft, is stepping down next week, Chancellor Franz Vranitzky announced Wednesday.
One of the most senior Cabinet members, Lacina has served in the government for the last 13 years. His resignation had been rumored for some time.
A major reshuffle of the coalition government between Lacina’s Social Democrats and the conservative Austrian People’s Party is expected to follow.
The government has been hurt by strife between the coalition partners and criticism from trade unions and others of its 1995 budget, which includes an unprecedented $10.4 billion deficit despite deep cuts in welfare and other benefits.
``I wish that the country gets a finance minister against whom the union leadership doesn’t have to demonstrate,″ Lacina said last week, suggesting he was tired of what had become an increasingly thankless job.
He also made clear he had no desire to take any other public or party office.