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Romania - Presidential Election

Presidential Election in Romania,
a round-up one week before the second round

Presidential Election in Romania,
a round-up one week before the second round

01/12/2009 - D-7 - 2nd round

On 22nd November last outgoing President of the Republic Traian Basescu (Democratic Liberal Party – PD-L) came out ahead in the 1st round of the Romanian presidential election winning 32.44% of the vote. He was ahead of Mircea Geoana, leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), who won 31.15% of the vote. The two men will face each other in the 2nd round on 6th December next.

The question of alliances has therefore been the focus of all debate between rounds. Crin Antonescu (National Liberal Party PNL) the unfortunate candidate in the presidential election (20.02% of the vote) excluded after the 1st round any support on the part of his party to outgoing President Traian Basescu. Romanian society which is not really structured by ideological differences allows the most surprising agreements including between opposing parties.
On 25th November last the PNL that lies on the right of the political scale signed an agreement wit the PSD led by Mircea Geoana in view of forming a new majority and a joint government based on a programme to exit the crisis. Mircea Geoana qualified this programme as "a form of social democracy with liberal overtones."

The agreement is conditioned by the appointment of the Mayor of Sibiu, Klaus Johannis (Democratic Forum of the Germans of Sibiu, DFDH) as Prime Minister as well as the maintenance of income and society tax at 16% (the rate applied since January 2005), and the reduction in taxation and the suppression of the minimum threshold for company tax. The next government is due to include 18 ministers, 9 are due to go to the PSD, 7 to the PNL and two to the Democratic Union of Magyars of Romanian (UDMR), who represent the interests of the country's Hungarian minority (1.4 million people i.e. 6% of the population) which decided to support Mircea Geoana in the 2nd round. The UDMR electorate whose candidate Hunor Kelemen came 5th in the 1st round with 3.83% is traditionally very disciplined and should follow the voting advice given by the party's leaders.

On 30th November last President Traian Basescu repeated in an interview given in the daily Romania Libera that he wanted to see the Romanian State reformed, declaring "that he was disappointed not to have won the fight against corruption." "History cannot be corrected within one five year mandate," he stressed. On several occasions Traian Basescu has said over the last few weeks that he wanted to undertake a second mandate as head of State to complete his work. "If I win the presidential election I shall govern with the National Liberal Party," indicated the outgoing President. Targeting the PNL he condemned the political parties who although they claim they are on the right of the political scale "are against the reform of the State and say they are ready to conclude alliances with parties that support progressive taxation."

A referendum on the reform of Parliament was organised on the same day as the first round of the presidential election. A wide majority of Romanians voted in favour of a unicameral Parliament (77.39%), and a greater number accepted the reduction in the number of MPs (88.87%). Turn out rose to 50.61%. "The hate of MPs is a popular matter in Romania. This is why the President of the Republic decided to rally his electorate on this theme," stressed political expert Sorin Ionita.
Observers from the Organisation for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have said that the first round took place "mainly" in line with international standards indicating however that there had been some "infringements" that had to be corrected promptly. The OSCE observed 1,059 complaints recorded by the Interior Ministry the latter having identified 72 infringements of the electoral law (mainly multiple voting or the purchase of votes).

Apart from the battle for victory on the 6th December another very difficult task is awaiting the victor of the Romanian presidential election: that is to bring Romania out of the serious economic and political crisis in which the country has found itself for the last few weeks.
Publishing Director: Pascale JOANNIN
The authors
Corinne Deloy
Author of the European Elections Monitor (EEM) for the Robert Schuman Foundation and project manager at the Institute for Political Studies (Sciences Po).
Fondation Robert Schuman
Other stages
2nd roundD-7