Monday, November 26, 2007

Romania elects first EU deputies

Preliminary results in Romania’s first elections to the European parliament show the country’s opposition Democratic party topping the poll with around 30 per cent of the vote.

President Traian Basescu’s Democratic Party was supported by 29.2 percent of voters according to results based after a count of more than 75 per cent of the votes.

The ex-communist Social Democracy Party is expected to grab second place with around 22 per cent, followed in third place by prime minister Calin Tariceanu’s centrist Liberals with 13 per cent.

Graham Watson, leader of the Liberals and Democrats in the European parliament, said, "Liberals can be satisfied with at least six MEPs to work with in the European Parliament."

Turnout at the elections was estimated at less than 30 per cent, according to Reuters, which invalidated a referendum on electoral reform that was held alongside the European assembly vote.

"Romania still needs to be convinced of the importance of decision-making at EU level," said Watson.

EPP leader Joseph Daul said, "These elections mark a watershed in relations between Bucharest and Brussels. Romania has a significant part to play in the development of the European Union."

The EPP group said the new Romanian deputies will include 11 from the Democratic Party and two from the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania.

"We are delighted to welcome the new colleagues with whom we are confident we will work successfully," said Joseph Daul and Wilfried Martens.

Romania's nationalists fared poorly in Sunday's elections, with the leader of the Greater Romania Party, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, announcing on Sunday that he would resign from Romania’s parliament.

Watson said that the defeat for the party was "one more nail in the coffin for the far-right forces in the European parliament".

Sunday’s ballot was the first time that Romanians have elected MEPs since the country joined the EU on 1 January. The election also marks the first time since the 1989 anti-communist revolution that the leftist Social Democracy Party failed to win most votes in an election.

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