Bucharest: Romanians vote today in a run-off to elect their new president, as the country grapples with recession and a deep political crisis which has delayed a
crucial aid package by the IMF.
Polls were to open from 7:00 am (0500 GMT) until
The centre-right incumbent president Traian
Basescu, a former sea captain, is facing the social-democrat
chairman of the Senate and ex-diplomat, Mircea Geoana.
The two ended up neck-and-neck in the first round
held on November 22 with Basescu garnering 32.44 per cent of
the votes and Geoana 31.15 per cent.
However, Geoana is considered favourite for the
Sunday vote after joining forces with the liberals, the third
political party in the country. An opinion poll by Insomar
institute published this week credited him with 54 per cent of
No matter who the winner is, he will have no time
to lose in appointing a prime minister, as the country, in the
grip of severe recession, has been led by a caretaker
government since October.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European
Union and the World Bank, which in March agreed on a
20-billion-euro bail-out plan for Romania, expect urgent steps
to cut public spending.