Romania Postpones European Parliament Elections
The decision was passed as a government ordinance subject to parliamentary approval, a near-certainty given that the country's three opposition parties have all decided to support the ordinance.
Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu justified his decision for delaying the vote with the constant infighting within the ruling coalition, which pits his own National Liberal party against the splinter Liberal-Democrats and the Democratic Party, formerly headed by President Traian Basescu.
"Given the inappropriate political climate and given the importance of these elections, it is necessary to postpone the European Parliament elections until the second half of the year," the ordinance read.
Basescu attended the cabinet meeting on Monday, but failed to persuade Tariceanu to abandon his bill.
The two have been at odds since mid-2005, when the PM refused to step down in order to pave the way for snap polls, as lobbied by Basescu. The relationship between the two has soured to outright hostility since then.
Romania's government has to hold elections before the end of the year to fill the country's quota of 35 seats in the European Parliament. The newly-elected MEPs will only hold office until 2009, when the next general elections for the European legislative body will be held.
Fellow new EU member Bulgaria plans to choose its 18 MEPs on May 20.
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