Saturday, July 12, 2014

Romanian gov't expected to win bitter elections

February 19. 2013 9:19PM
Story Tools
PrintPrint | E-MailEMail | SaveSave | Hear Generate QR Code QR
Send to Kindle


(AP) Romanians braved snow and heavy rain on Sunday to vote in a parliamentary election that the center-left government is expected to win. But the outcome could worsen a longstanding dispute between this nation's top two officials.

President Traian Basescu must nominate the prime minister, and he has indicated he may not appoint current Premier Victor Ponta, even if his coalition wins a majority in this impoverished Balkan nation. The two have been embroiled in a bitter personal feud since Ponta tried and failed to impeach the center-right Basescu in July.

If Basescu refuses to appoint Ponta, it would cause a political standoff. Basescu could nominate someone else, but his choice would have to be approved by Parliament. If his candidate fails in two rounds of voting, Parliament could be dissolved.

Sunday's turnout could be affected by bad weather.

Heavy rain was falling in Bucharest as the polls opened and snow in other areas prevented some 250 polling stations to open on time, officials said. Authorities were asking the army and the defense ministry to help clear roads closed by blizzards.

Valentina Lupan, an architect voting in Bucharest, said she was determined to cast a ballot, despite the bad weather.

People will go and vote even if there's snow and rain because they've had enough, she said. We've had enough of being insulted and humiliated. We want a normal life.

The polls opened at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) and will close at 9 p.m. (1900 GMT). Exit polls are expected after the polls close, with first results expected Monday.

Many Romanians are fed up with the power struggle between Basescu and Ponta, especially as the country remains one of the poorest and most corrupt members of the European Union. Romania is enduring deep austerity cuts in return for a 20-million ($26-million) bailout to help its foundering economy.

More than 18 million Romanians are eligible to vote in Sunday's ballot to elect 452 representatives of a two-chamber Parliament for the next four years. Parties need at least 5 percent of the vote to secure a seat in the two-chamber legislature.

Polls put Ponta's Union of Socialist Liberals at about 57 percent, with Basescu allies, the center-right Just Romania Alliance, second with about 20 percent. The populist party of media tycoon Dan Diaconescu has profited from the rancor, coming in third with about 15 percent.

Besides the failed bid to impeach Basescu, the country has seen three prime ministers and Cabinets this year and huge anti-austerity protests. The EU and the United States criticized the government for failing to respect the rule of law and of ignoring constitutional rules during the impeachment attempt.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was monitoring Sunday's vote.

Associated Press

comments powered by Disqus Commenting Guidelines
Mortgage Minute

Search for New & Used Cars

Used New All

Search Times Leader Classifieds to find just the home you want!

Search Times Leader Classifieds to find just what you need!

Search Pet Classifieds
Dogs Cats Other Animals

Social Media/RSS
Times Leader on Twitter
Times Leader on Youtube
Times Leader on Google+
The Times Leader on Tumblr
The Times Leader on Pinterest
Times Leader RSS Feeds