News 09 Dec 12

Ruling Coalition Wins Romania's Elections

The first results from Romania's parliamentary election indicate that the centre-left Social Liberal Union, USL, has won majority of the votes.

Marian Chiriac
BIRN
Bucharest

Romania's ruling centre-left coalition USL has won a landslide victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections, taking around 57 per cent of the ballot, according to exit-polls broadcast by the local TV stations.

"I want to thank all the people who braved the heavy snowfall and rain across the country in order to vote. Its a clear victory for us, and Romania needs now a period of peace and to find solutions for the crisis and stagnation,” Prime Minister Victor Ponta, the USL leader, said in a public speech.

Ponta added the most likely the USL will enter into a coalition with the party of ethnic Hungarians in Romania, UDMR, in order to have a confortable majority to rule the country.

The UDMR is likely to enter the parliament with around 5 per cent of the votes cast, say the polls.

The Alliance for the Romanian Right, ARD, a new grouping of centre-right parties, dominated by the opposition Democratic Liberals and aligned with president Traian Basescu, got around 18 per cent of the votes.

The People's Party, PP, a populist party that advocates big tax cuts and higher wages and pensions, came third in the elections with around 13 per cent.

Under the constitution, the party that wins more than 50 percent of parliamentary seats is entitled to negotiate the nomination of prime minister with the president. If no party has a majority, the president chooses a premier after consulting with all the parties.

The premier-designate has 10 days to draw up a governing program and pick his ministers before seeking a confidence vote in the Parliament.

Romania has been ruled by three governments this year alone. A long dispute between Ponta and Basescu resulted in a referendum on the impeachment of the President on July 29. Most Romanians voted for impeachment but Basescu remained in his post because the turnout was low, at only 46 per cent.

For an impeachment vote to be validated by the Constitutional Court, a turnout of at least 50 per was required.

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

Basescu's second and final term as head of state according to the constitution expires in late 2014.

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