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Friday, January 07, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Traian Basescu said on Thursday he would support early polls to strengthen the new centrist coalition government, shocking the Balkan country's political scene just weeks after elections.

The outspoken Basescu said he favored early elections so that the reformist government -- facing the tough task of getting Romania into shape to join the European Union in 2007 -- could drop one of its allies, the small PUR party.

"Personally, I'm an advocate of immediate early elections to get rid of the immoral solution named PUR," Basescu told the daily Adevarul in an interview. He did not say when he hoped for fresh elections.

Analysts said Basescu, who led the centrist alliance in elections, threatened the small party with new polls to force it to back a bid to change the speakers of the two houses of parliament -- posts won by the PSD with the support of the PUR.

The PUR is unlikely to reach the five percent threshold needed to get into parliament if faced with a new poll.

Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu said early polls were the answer if a political crisis emerged: "If we see that we cannot count on a stable and solid majority, snap elections will be the political solution."

Basescu slammed the PUR's credibility after its stance in parliament last month, when it backed the PSD's successful bid for both house speaker posts while at the same time negotiating cabinet posts with the Liberal/Democrat centrist alliance.

"The PUR must correct this error to become credible," he said. "We need to launch parliamentary procedures to change the two presidents of the houses."

House speakers can be changed only at the request of at least one-third of deputies from at least three parties.

The alliance has a combined 161 deputies out of 469 in both houses, the PSD has 159, UDMR 32 and PUR 30. The ultra nationalist Greater Romania party has 69 and 18 independent ethnic minority deputies usually support the government.

PUR leaders, surprised by Basescu's remarks, said the party would meet over the next two days to decide its stance.

Although the president's post is largely ceremonial, Basescu's role in helping the alliance he once led to form a government gives him special weight and he has made clear he will act as a catalyst for political stability.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 1/07/2005 11:08:00 am Basescu wants early polls for strong Government
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