Monday, October 26, 2009

Basescu Faces Tough Battle in Romania

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Many people would vote for Romanian president Traian Basescu in next month’s election but the ballot may need a second round, according to a poll by the National Institute for Public Opinion Studies and Marketing (INSOMAR) released by Realitatea TV. 33.4 per cent of respondents would support Basescu in the November election.

Mircea Geoana of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) is second with 28.5 per cent, followed by Crin Antonescu of the National Liberal Party (PNL) with 14.5 per cent, and Bucharest mayor Sorin Oprescu with 8.1 per cent. Support is lower for Corneliu Vadim Tudor of the Party of Great Romania (PRM), George Becali of the New Generation - Christian Democrat Party (PNG-CD), and Kelemen Hunor of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR).

A run-off scenario places Geoana with a slim advantage over Basescu.

Basescu won the presidential run-off in December 2004 as the candidate of the Alliance for Justice and Truth (DA)—comprising the Democratic Party (PD) and the PNL—with 51.23 per cent of the vote.

Romania held a legislative election in November 2008. Final results gave the coalition of the PSD and the Conservative Party (PC) 33.09 per cent of the vote and 114 seats in the lower house, followed by the Democratic Liberal Party (PD-L) with 32.36 per cent and 115 mandates. Basescu nominated PD-L leader Emil Boc to take over as prime minister from Calin Popescu Tariceanu.

On Oct. 13, the Romanian government collapsed following a defeat in a confidence vote. Opposition parties rejected Boc’s government for proposing pension reforms aimed at securing funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This will not prevent the presidential election from happening.

On Oct. 22, Basescu announced that Romanians will vote next month in a referendum on switching the country’s legislative body from a bi-cameral entity to a unicameral parliament, declaring, "Yesterday, Romania’s Parliament did not approve the request I made for organizing a referendum simultaneously with the presidential election. Considering the fact that Parliament’s approval is consultative for the president as regards the organization of a referendum, I have made the decision to sign the decree on the referendum being organized simultaneously with the presidential election."

Romanians are called to elect a president on Nov. 22. If no candidate garners more than 50 per cent of the vote in the first round, a run-off between the top two vote-getters must take place within 14 days.

Polling Data

Which candidate would you vote for in Romania’s presidential election?

Traian Basescu
Mircea Geoana (PSD)
Crin Antonescu (PNL)
Sorin Oprescu (Ind.)
Corneliu Vadim Tudor (PRM)
George Becali (PNG-CD)
Kelemen Hunor (UDMR)

Source: National Institute for Public Opinion Studies and Marketing (INSOMAR) / Realitatea TV
Methodology: Interviews with 1,211 Romanian adults, conducted from Oct. 8 to Oct. 11, 2009. Margin of error is 2.9 per cent.

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