Centrist politician Traian Basescu has been sworn in as Romania’s president, officially taking over from veteran Ion Iliescu. The former sea captain rode a wave of public discontent with poverty and corruption to record an upset victory in elections earlier this month, beating Iliescu’s handpicked successor, prime minister Adrian Nastase. Nastase, leader of the ex-communist PSD party, was elected lower house speaker however, after deputies from Basescu’s alliance walked out in a dispute over voting procedures.
Basescu promised a new beginning for the EU candidate country still struggling to overcome its communist legacy, pledging pro-business reforms such as drastic tax cuts. But in a sign of political difficulties ahead, Basescu’s oath-taking ceremony was delayed by wrangles in parliament. Alliance sources said they were considering challenging Nastase’s election as lower house speaker, a move that would further delay forming a government this week.