In-depth Business Intelligence
of US $
is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)
Books on Romania
Update No: 151 -
Romania has been holding a very important
pair of elections to the presidency,
reckoned to be the most significant since
the fall of communism in 1989. They have
been bitterly contested.
In the first round in November the
incumbent, Trajan Basescu, fared poorly.
He did not look as if he had done quite
enough to win the second round. President
Basescu had 32.43% of the vote, while
Social Democrat Geoana had 31.16%,
according to the central election office.
Liberal Crin Antonescu was third with
What was ominous for Basescu was that
Antonescu immediately announced that he
would not support Basescu and that any
deal with Geoana would depend on his plan
to tackle an economy that is expected to
have shrunk by eight percent in 2009, with
a huge international aid package currently
blocked until a new government is formed.
In the event Basescu won second-time
round, albeit by the slenderest of
margins, 50.33% to Geoana’s 49.67%.
Contested electoral result
Romania's opposition Social Democrat party
alleged the second round of the
presidential elections on December 6 was
rigged and contested the result.
Earlier, exit polls had predicted victory
for his Social Democrat rival, former
Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana. It is
possible there was some hanky-panky along
the way. Romania is anything but an
established democracy. In Ceausescu's time
under communism rigged elections were
Still, it is a bit of a surprise that
Basescu, or rather his supporters should
resort to such tactics, if indeed they
did. They are all ardent advocates of
liberal democracy. Moreover, it is not as
if the opposition figure is a villain,
against whom dubious tactics might seem to
He does belong to the Social Democratic
Party, which is indeed the heir to the
Communist Party of Romania. But it is, as
it were, the ideal alter ego of the same,
shedding the invidious practices of the
original, among which vote-rigging was the
Wherever the truth lies, the
constitutional court ruled on December
14th that Basescu had won the most votes
in the run-off, despite opposition claim
that it was rigged. The election
authorities re-examined 138,000 voided
ballots and decided the result of the
election was unchanged. Geoana has
reluctantly conceded defeat and asserted
the court had ignored extremely clear
evidence of fraud.
Constitutional reform on the way
The first round of the election had been
accompanied by a referendum on the
constitution. It concerned the very size
of the parliament.
Romanians voted in favour of reforming
parliament, with 77.1 percent approving
the idea of a single chamber. Some 88.9
percent voted to reduce the number of
lawmakers from 471 to 300.
The latter near unanimity is easy to
explain. People are convinced that a large
number of their legislators are corrupt,
explaining perhaps electoral
irregularities to date. A reduction in
their number could produce a shake-out of
the more corrupt. Time will tell.
But this all awaits the next parliamentary
elections, some time away, yet to be
decided. Romania is certainly in flux.