The Romanian prime minister says he and his government will resign immediately to protect the stability of the country.

Emil Boc said Monday he is resigning "to ease the social situation" -- referring to weeks of protests in Romania over austerity measures that he introduced in 2010.

Boc, who became prime minister in 2008, urged Romania's feuding politicians to be mature and rapidly vote for a new government. He defended his record, saying that he had taken "difficult decisions thinking about the future of Romania, not because I wanted to, but because I had to."

He added that the International Monetary Fund has forecast growth of up to 2 percent this year -- lower than expected, but higher than the European Union average.