World

Romania Parliament approves new spy chief dealing a blow to embattled prime minister

  • FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2012 file photo the then Prime Minister designate, Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, delivers a speech, in Bucharest, Romania. Romania's Parliament has approved Tuesday, June 30, 2015, Ungureanu as the country's spy chief, a position he previously held, which is seen as a defeat for the prime minister Victor Ponta. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2012 file photo the then Prime Minister designate, Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, delivers a speech, in Bucharest, Romania. Romania's Parliament has approved Tuesday, June 30, 2015, Ungureanu as the country's spy chief, a position he previously held, which is seen as a defeat for the prime minister Victor Ponta. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2012 file photo  Romanian Premier designate Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, left, speaks to opposition leader Victor Ponta, right, in Bucharest, Romania. Romania's Parliament has approved Tuesday, June 30, 2015,  Ungureanu as the country's spy chief, a position he previously held, which is seen as a defeat for the prime minister Victor Ponta. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2012 file photo Romanian Premier designate Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, left, speaks to opposition leader Victor Ponta, right, in Bucharest, Romania. Romania's Parliament has approved Tuesday, June 30, 2015, Ungureanu as the country's spy chief, a position he previously held, which is seen as a defeat for the prime minister Victor Ponta. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)  (The Associated Press)

Romania's Parliament has approved a new spy chief opposed by the prime minister, dealing a blow to the leader who faces increasing pressure to resign amid a corruption investigation.

The vote was a major test for Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who is recovering from knee surgery in Turkey.

Ponta opposed the nominee, Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, who was proposed by Ponta's political rival, President Klaus Iohannis.

Ruling party lawmakers boycotted the session. Ungureanu was approved in a 278-6 vote on Tuesday, with the help of parties which had been previously allied to Ponta, to head the Foreign Intelligence Service — a post Ungureanu has already held.

Ponta is the subject of a money laundering, forgery and conflict of interest case while he was a lawyer in 2007-2008. He denies wrongdoing.