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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Possible Romanian Elections?

Well, as if Romania didn't already have enough problems, this news today is hardly going to help:

Romania's opposition Social Democrat Party, the largest group in parliament, said it will put forward a no-confidence motion next week aimed at ending the minority government of Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu.

``We have decided to move forward with this no-confidence motion on Monday, Sept. 24,'' Mircea Geoana, the Social Democrats' president, said in a statement late yesterday televised on Realitatea television. ``We don't see how a new government can be formed and we think the possibility of early elections is becoming more likely.''

The Social Democrats, formed by ex-communists after the anti-communist revolution in 1989, have about 150 seats in the 465-seat parliament and would need to ally with other opposition parties to get the motion passed.

Some prominent Social Democrats, including former Romanian President Ion Iliescu, said they oppose the motion, which could force elections a year earlier than scheduled.

Infighting between the main political parties since Romania joined the European Union on Jan. 1 has delayed programs meant to speed up the absorption of EU funds and fight corruption, a key EU demand. Tariceanu and President Traian Basescu, former allies, split early this year amid mutual accusations of corruption.

In April, Tariceanu ousted the Democratic Party, which supports Basescu, from the government, firing all ministers loyal to Basescu. The Democrats joined the opposition with their 100 seats in parliament, leaving Tariceanu's supporters with about 100.

Basescu has repeatedly called for Tariceanu's resignation and has indicated his party may support a no-confidence motion.

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