Romania is gearing up for perhaps its most important vote since the fall of Communism in 1989.
The first round of the presidential election sees the incumbant Traian Basescu just ahead in the polls currently attracting around 30 percent of electorate. He is backed by the centrist Democrat-Liberal Party and has added a referendum to the ballot calling for a smaller parliament to ease decision making and fight corruption. His main rival is the former ambassador to Washington Mircea Geoana. He has modernised the Social Democrat Party, which has been marred by graft and foot-dragging over reforms. Geoana is running at 25 per cent and backs the IMF recommendations for the struggling country, but stops short of the Fund’s call to cut 150,000 public sector jobs. Third place in the race is Liberal Crin Antonescu. He is campaigning on a ticket to freeze utility prices and ease the tax burden. If no candidate wins more than 50 per cent of the vote a run off will take place on December the 6th.