Romania is split down the middle following Sunday’s presidential election, which was won by the incumbent Traian Besescu by a hair’s breadth.
Exit polls had predicted a similarly slim victory for the centre left’s Mircea Geoana, but his PSD party is contesting the result, claiming it has evidence of massive electoral fraud. “Our belief is that Romanians have elected Mircea Geoana as president, but the state apparatus of Trian Basescu tries to give him a second term in a fraudulent way,” said the PSD’s Vice Presidentm Liviu Dragnea. OSCE observers have given the vote a clean bill of health while acknowledging they were not able to conduct systematic monitoring throughout the country. The party of beaten PSD presidential candidate Mircea Geoana left the coalition government two months ago, declaring it feared fraud was being prepared. Romania is struggling to apply democratic norms, but it is Basescu’s allegations that sections of the country’s economy and media are controlled by a corrupt PSD-leaning oligarchy that appear to resonate most with voters, particularly among the president’s core working class and rural electorate.