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Romania Coalition Gains Support Ahead of Campaign: Poll

Romania’s ruling coalition would win a clear majority in general elections next month, according to a new poll showing it gained support in October for the first time since its failed attempt to oust President Traian Basescu.

The Social Liberal Union that backs Prime Minister Victor Ponta would win 57.4 percent of the votes in parliamentary elections, according to a survey of 1,039 people between Oct. 10 and Oct. 18 by pollster IMAS that appeared in Adevarul newspaper today. That compares with 48 percent in a CSOP survey published on Oct. 1 and 54 percent in an IRES survey on Aug. 27.

Basescu’s opposition Liberal Democratic Party, which formed the Right Romania Alliance with two other parties, including the group led by ex-Premier Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu, would get 16 percent, down from 24 percent in the CSOP poll.

The campaign for the Dec. 9 vote starts next week. Romania has been embroiled in a power struggle between Basescu and Ponta, which led to the president’s suspension. In August, he was reinstated after a vote to oust him was invalidated by the Constitutional Court because of lower-than-required turnout.

Rising Tensions

Tensions between the top parties may increase as Basescu has said he won’t appoint Ponta as premier after the elections. According to the constitution, the party with an absolute majority in parliament nominates the premier. If no party has such a majority, the president designates the prime minister after consulting all the parties.

Romania’s government has pledged to lower the budget deficit to below 3 percent of economic output this year as part of a 5 billion-euro ($6.4 billion) precautionary accord with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. Ponta has repeatedly said the country may seek a new accord after the current one expires next year. The nation hasn’t drawn any money from the current loan.

The ruling coalition also plans to pass measures to stimulate a weakening economy after the elections and may also consider some tax cuts and wage increases, according to the program published on their websites. It has also pledged to keep a 16 percent tax on corporate profits and change the income-tax system.

The opposition alliance has promised to cut a 16 percent flat tax and lower some social contributions. The People’s Party of media entrepreneur Dan Diaconescu, which currently remains outside the ruling and opposition groups, has announced similar cuts.

His party would get 14.9 percent of votes, according to the IMAS poll. It had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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