Romanians are voting for a president today in a ballot expected to unseat incumbent Traian Basescu.
Leftist challenger Mircea Geoana, the Social Democrat leader has an eight point lead in the opinion polls.
Romania’s government collapsed in October amid squabbling between the coalition of the Democratic Liberal party - which supports the president - and Geoana’s Social Democrats - over the dismissal of the interior minister who oversees the elections.
Basescu has had difficulty persuading the electorate of the need for 150,000 public job cuts conditional to a 20 billion euro aid package.
The International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the World bank delayed a third disbursement of the aid package after the government’s collapse.
Romania’s economy, already in deep recession, is forecast to shrink by eight per cent this year.
The country needs the IMF loan, if only to pay state salaries and pensions.
Romanians choose their president