Romania Presidential Run-off Balanced on Knife Edge

World | November 25, 2009, Wednesday // 12:28
Bulgaria: Romania Presidential Run-off Balanced on Knife Edge Crin Antonescu, Romanian Liberal party leader, may hold the key to the presidential election run-off next month. Photo by BGNES

The knife-edge presidential election in Romania is set for a tight run-off next month, with the Liberals in the role of king makers.

Crin Antonescu leader of the Liberal (PNL) party, finished third in Sunday’s round of voting, and where he directs his support before the run-off on December 6 may decide the eventual outcome.

“I am ruling out any collaboration between me and President Basescu. I am ruling out any support for Basescu.” he announced on Tuesday

Antonescu, said his party would help socialist (PSD) candidate Mircea Geoana, who finished second, to defeat president Traian Basescu.

Relations between the Liberals and the Democratic party (PDL) had suffered when President Bascescu sacked PNL leader and Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu in 2008, after a feud that had lasted several years

Martin Schulz, leader of the socialist group in the European parliament, has announced at a press conference in Strasbourg that Mircea Geoana’s election as president of Romania would be in the country’s interest and that of the European Union.

“I am confident that Mircea Geoana will win, which is in the interest of Romania and of the European Union as a whole,” he stated.

Asked what was his stand toward an alliance between PSD and PNL, Schulz referred to “the European tradition of government coalitions” and said that whoever would win the presidential elections would have to look for a parliamentary majority.

Incumbent President Basescu came first in Sunday's poll with 32,43% of the vote, while Mircea Geoana came second with 31,16%. Crin Antonescu gained 20,2% of the vote.

A run-off is required under Romanian electoral law as no candidate gained more than 50% of the vote.

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Tags: Romania, Presidential elections, Traian Basescu, Mircea Goana, Crin Antonescu, Martin Schulz

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