Romanian president re-elected

2009-12-07 15:26

Bucharest - Romanian President Traian Basescu, an outspoken anti-graft campaigner, won re-election by a whisker, defeating a leftist challenger for the job of leading the EU newcomer out of political and economic crisis.

Basescu scored 50.37% versus 49.63% for Social Democrat leader Mircea Geoana in Sunday's runoff ballot, final results from the Central Election Bureau showed on Monday.

Geoana, who claimed victory as soon as the polls closed, did not immediately concede defeat. But Geoana's designated candidate for prime minister, Klaus Johannis, appeared to accept the outcome, telling a news conference: "My road ends here."

The vote was one of the most important for the Balkan state since it executed Stalinist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu 20 years ago, as the victor must name a new government that can restart talks on a stalled €20bn IMF rescue loan.

Knife-edge outcome

The knife-edge outcome sent the leu currency slightly lower against the euro, and analysts said it could extend a political deadlock that put the aid package on ice last month.

The analysts said the abrasive Basescu may struggle to form a government with other major parties with which he repeatedly clashed over anti-corruption measures during his five-year term.

"It will be much harder for Basescu to form a government," said Adrian Basaraba, head of the political science department at the University of Timisoara.

Exit polls on Sunday had shown Geoana in the lead, prompting Social Democrat former president Ion Iliescu to brand the official figures as "suspect". Basescu appeared to have won most of some 150 000 ballots cast by the more than two million Romanians living abroad, who backed him heavily in a November 22 first round.

IMF deal

Last month, the International Monetary Fund suspended review of the aid deal propping up the EU's second poorest economy, after opposition parties toppled a Basescu-allied cabinet that has stayed in place as an interim administration.

The Fund has said it will hold back a €1.5bn aid tranche - originally planned for December - until a new government and a cost-cutting budget are in place, raising concern among markets about Bucharest's finances.

The result marked a surprise comeback for Basescu, who had trailed Geoana by eight percentage points in the last two polls before the vote, after the leftist forged a pact with the third largest party, the Liberals, to rule together if he won.

Mustering support for a cabinet could be a stretch for Basescu, who already saw two torpedoed by Geoana's ex-communist Social Democrats and other opposition parties after the leftists walked out of a unity coalition in September.

IMF endorsed

The 58-year-old former Bucharest mayor has endorsed IMF recommendations to freeze state wages, reduce some pensions, and cut as many as 150 000 jobs in the sprawling public sector, which analysts say hinders Romania's long term growth prospects.

The economy is expected to contract by 8% this year.

Markets were concerned the ex-communist Social Democrats would water down economic reforms and halt steps to fight sleaze if Geoana won. The country of 22 million is ranked the most corrupt in the EU, according to Transparency International.

Analysts said Basescu would seek a government backed by his centre-right Democrat Liberal allies, an ethnic Hungarian party and potential defectors from the Liberals, his preferred partner.

"It would not be so hard to find 20 extra votes from the Liberals and the Social Democrats because MPs fear early elections," said political analyst Mircea Marian. "But a minority government means big risks, including risks for the IMF deal."

Read more on:    romania

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB

GALAXY Note combines the market's largest HD Super AMOLED display,...

From R3899.00

I'm shopping for:


There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.