Ruling Coalition Tipped to Win Romania Election

The leftist coalition governing Romania is firmly on course to win December’s parliamentary elections.Romanian parties have officially announced their candidates for the general elections scheduled for December 9.

Some 4,000 people – including many businessmen, journalists and artists – will run for the 452 seats in Romania’s bicameral parliament.

Latest polls suggest that the coalition of Prime Minister Victor Ponta remains on course to win the election, even if its ratings have slipped a little as a result of the undignified recent power struggle between him and President Traian Basescu.

Ponta’s Social Liberal Union, USL, is tipped to win around 57.4 per cent of the vote, only slightly down from the 60 per cent it was polling during the summer, according to a last survey by pollster IMAS.

The USL won 66.6 per cent in the local elections in June, but its supported declined after the impeachment referendum to a low of 55 per cent in September, before starting to climb again in October.

The Alliance for the Romanian Right, ARD, a new grouping of center-right parties dominated by the opposition Democrat Liberals – deeply unpopular for enforcing past austerity measures – has the support of some 16 per cent, IMAS polls reveal. The new alliance has not helped the Democratic Liberals to improve their position.

The populist People’s Party, PP, a party that advocates big tax cuts and higher wages and pensions, came third with 14.9 per cent.

The PP is run by journalist-turned businessman Dan Diaconescu who is under investigation for allegedly breaking the law in a bid for the chemical company, Oltchim, which was subsequently thrown out by privatisation officials.

While the winner of the next election seems clear, analysts fear a new political crisis if President Basescu, who has strong ties with the ARD, tries to appoint an ally to form a coalition government if the USL fails to win an outright majority.

A long dispute between Ponta and Basescu resulted in a referendum on the impeachment of the President on July 29. Most Romanians voted in favour of his impeachment but Basescu remained in his post because the turnout was only 46 per cent.

In order for an impeachment to be validated by the Constitutional Court, a turnout of 50 per cent of voters was required.

Ponta’s battles with the President have caused concern in Brussels about Romania’s continued commitment to the rule of law. Ponta has promised to address those concerns.

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