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Romania to hold parliamentary election on 9 Dec

Romanian government to hold parliamentary election early December, following months of tension between government and President Basescu

AFP , Saturday 1 Sep 2012
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Romania will hold a regular parliamentary election on Dec. 9, the government said on Saturday, an event that should draw a line under months of political conflict and a failed attempt by the government to remove the president.

The push by Prime Minister Victor Ponta's leftist alliance to dismiss his rival, right-wing President Traian Basescu, slowed policy-making, battered the leu currency and raised questions about the fate of an IMF-led 5 billion euro aid deal.

Ponta's Social Liberal Union (USL) suspended Basescu in July, accusing him of improperly blocking government policies. It then held a referendum on whether to impeach him, which failed when the country's top court ruled it invalid.

The European Commission and the United States criticised the methods used by the government against the president, saying they were a threat to democracy and the rule of law.

The USL lost support over its attempt to dismiss Basescu, but it is nevertheless on track to win the election in December, opinion polls show.

If the USL fails to win an outright parliamentary majority, Basescu would be in a strong position because the president appoints the prime minister after an election.

Romania, the poorest member of the 27-strong European Union, holds parliamentary elections every four years.

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