- Title: ROMANIA: POLITICS - President Traian Basescu re-elected by a whisker
- Date: 8th December 2009
- Summary: A WOMAN LOOKING AT NEWSPAPERS
- Embargoed: 23rd December 2009 12:00
- Location: Romania
- Country: Romania
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAB1NZC1MBVBOHEKKV33F084RE7
- Story Text: An election official announced on Monday (December 7) that Romanian President Traian Basescu won re-election by a whisker, defeating a leftist challenger for the job of leading the EU newcomer out of political and economic crisis.
Basescu scored 50.37 percent versus 49.63 for Social Democrat leader Mircea Geoana in Sunday's runoff ballot, final results from the Central Election Bureau showed on Monday.
"The number of valid votes: Traian Basescu - 5.243.359, representing 50,37 percent and Mircea Geoana - 5.165.415, representing percent," Marian Mihulet, a central election office spokesman said.
Geoana, who claimed victory as soon as the polls closed, did not immediately concede defeat. But Geoana's designated candidate for prime minister, Klaus Johannis, appeared to accept the outcome, telling a news conference: "My roadhere."
Bucharest residents had mixed feeling on the result.
"My whole family expected this. We think he will succeed as long as there is not another scandal, to put him down," one resident said.
Another resident said he thought there would be difficult times ahead for the president.
"Anything proposed by president Basescu regarding the prime minister and the new government will, of course be obstructed and it will be confuse the situation. No-one will support him, everything will be as it was," Danut, who was in central Bucharest said.
The vote was one of the most important for the Balkan state since it executed Stalinist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu 20 years ago, as the victor must name a new government that can restart talks on a stalled 20-billion-euro IMF rescue loan.
The knife-edge outcome sent the leu currency slightly lower against the euro, and analysts said it could extend a political deadlock that put the aid package on ice last month.
The analysts said the abrasive Basescu may struggle to form a government with other major parties with which he repeatedly clashed over anti-corruption measures during his five-year term.
Exit polls on Sunday (December 6) had shown Geoana in the lead, prompting Social Democrat former President Ion Iliescu to brand the official figures "suspect".
Basescu appeared to have won most of some 150,000 ballots cast by the more than 2 million Romanians living abroad, who backed him heavily in a Nov. 22 first round.
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