Preliminary results in Romania’s general election suggest the centre-left coalition has won a clear victory – opening a new chapter in the bitter rivalry between the president and prime minister.
With four-fifths of votes counted, the USL – the Social Liberal Union of premier Victor Ponta – has taken up to 60 per cent – way ahead of the centre-right party of President Traian Basescu.
Several coalition leaders have been queueing up to hammer home their message that this was a clear-cut victory – and a clear-cut condemnation of the president.
“It is indeed the highest score an alliance has achieved from 1990 until today – but this vote is more than that. It’s a victory against the Basescu regime along with all it has meant,” said Crin Antonescu of the USL.
Victor Ponta has been described as a “mythomaniac” by the president, who hinted he might not appoint the premier again after the USL tried and failed to impeach Basescu.
The president has recently softened his language, and although he could opt for another coalition leader, it is thought he has little choice but to name Ponta as prime minister.