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Economic crisis central to Romania's election

 Economic crisis central to Romania's election
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New EU member Romania is gearing itself up for parliamentary elections today. The ballot is being seen as pivotal for the Balkan nation’s economy to overcome the recent global financial crisis.

Opinion polls point to a tight race, with Romania’s rival opposition parties heading the field.

In the red corner is the Social Democrat PSD party led by Mircea Geoana. Despite nearly disintegrating two years ago after being engulfed by sleaze scandals, it is expected to win around 30 percent of the vote.

Romania’s other main opposition group, the Liberal Democrat PDL party, led by President Traian Basescu, is also expected to take 30 percent, but a coalition with its bitter political enemy, the Social Democrats, appears unlikely.

Lagging behind in third spot is liberal Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu’s PNL party. Expected to only get 20 percent of the ballot, the prospect of coalition government looks almost certain.

Whoever gains political control has a tough job. Despite doubling in size in the last four years, Romania’s economy is already feeling the effects of the global credit crunch.