The knife-edge presidential election in Romania is set for a nail-biting run-off next month, with the Liberals in the role of king makers. Leader Crin Antonescu finished third on Sunday, and where he directs his support may decide the eventual outcome. He’s no fan of outgoing President Traian Basescu, and made his views completely clear:
“I am ruling out any collaboration between me and President Basescu. I am ruling out any support for Basescu.” Latest results show Basescu won about 33 per cent on Sunday, just ahead of Social Democrat leader Mircea Geoana. The Presidency wields little day-to-day power, but does nominate the prime minister. “The second round will polarise opinion: pro-Basescu and anti-Basescu,” said political analyst Stelian Tanase. It will not matter which party voters support or what sympathies they have. The only thing that matters is whether they are for or against Basescu.” At stake is Romania’s ability to face the future after years of weak reforms which have undermined the economy and fuelled corruption. That in turn has endangered a 20-billion-euro loan from the International Monetary Fund which was aimed at helping Romania beat the recession.