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Crin Antonescu has been reconfirmed as leader of the National Liberal Party - and as a future candidate of the ruling centre-left coalition for the Romanian Presidency.
With more than one year before crucial presidential elections take place, the National Liberal Party, PNL, the junior partner in Victor Ponta's current coalition government, re-elected Crin Antonescu as its head on Saturday.
At the end of the party congress, Antonescu got 1,434 votes in favour of his candidacy and only 44 voted against.
Antonescu, 54, a former history teacher, said his main task was to win next year's presidential elections.
"My mission is to represent liberal values. I’ve already proved that millions of people are behind me, so I do not want to disappoint them in the coming presidential elections,” Antonescu said.
Antonescu first won the party leadership in 2009 but failed that year to become Romania’s president, finishing third in the elections.
Now his chances are better, as he is supported by the ruling coalition, which comprises the PNL, the Social Democratic Party, PSD, and the Conservative Party, PC.
The coalition won around 60 per cent of the votes in last December's parliamentary elections and holds two-thirds of the seats in parliament.
Analysts say Antonescu is most likely to become Romania’s future president.
“He is supported by a strong coalition and is popular among many people but, most importantly, his main rival, the current President, Traian Basescu, will not run in 2014,” journalist Luminita Pirvu said.
Basescu's second and final term as head of state, according to the constitution, expires in late 2014.
The coalition has twice tried to impeach Basescu, accusing him of violating the constitution and of abusing his role. Basescu was suspended for a month by parliament but each time survived a referendum on his impeachment.
The politicial disputes in Romania have caused concern in Brussels about the country’s continued commitment to the rule of law.
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