The Romanian government has proposed a new bill under which people who practice witchcraft can be fined or even imprisoned if their predictions do not come true.

The bill will also mandate witches to keep permits, provide receipts for their services, and to stay away from schools and churches.

The Senate passed the resolution last week, but it still must be approved by a financial and labor committee and by the Chamber of Deputies.

Early this year, Romania updated its labor laws and “legalized” witchcraft – a centuries-old activity in this country -- by making it a taxable profession.

The government said it is part of drive to crack down on widespread tax evasion in a country that is in recession.

The recent proposed measured led a coven of irate witches to put poisonous mandrake root into the Danube in order to place a hex on Romanian officials,

They can't condemn witches, they should condemn the cards, Queen Witch Bratara Buzea said as quoted by The Scotsman newspaper. I will fight until my last breath for this not to be passed, she stated.

According to media reports, 63-year-old Buzea has once been imprisoned for witchcraft under the rule of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

More protests by witches are planned against the government.

Romania is deeply immersed in superstition. Reportedly, the president of the country and his aides wear purple on Thursdays to protect them from evil spirits.

But some opponents feel the government’s actions are an attempt to divert public attention away from the country’s dire economic problems.

Last year, the GDP is believed to have contracted, although a small expansion is expected in 2011.
In 2009, Romania received a $27-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to pay salaries and pensions after the economy shrunk by 7.2 percent.