Romania's Ponta Backs Tariceanu as Premier Before Runoff

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta said that if he wins a Nov. 16 presidential runoff, the Liberal Party’s former leader should replace him, a move that may widen the incumbent’s appeal before the ballot.

Ponta, who won the first round of elections on Nov. 2 with 40.4 percent of the votes, said Calin Popescu Tariceanu, prime minister between 2004 and 2008, would be the “best option” to take his place if he becomes president.

“We need a premier who can guarantee that the principles on which our governing program is based -- economic development and social balance -- are continued in 2015 and 2016,” Ponta told reporters today in Bucharest. He said he’ll remain in office until Dec. 21, when President Traian Basescu’s term ends.

Ponta is facing a runoff for the presidency against Liberal Party leader Klaus Johannis, after the first-round win wasn’t enough to bring outright victory and secure control of the top two offices for his ruling coalition. Tariceanu, who also ran for the presidency, was third with 5.4 percent.

The leu was little changed at 4.4153 per euro at 6 p.m. in Bucharest, while yields on 2024 euro-denominated debt fell one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point to 2.79 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Central bank Deputy Governor Florin Georgescu and spy chief George Maior are the back-up options for the premier’s job, according to Ponta. The premier is set to win the second round of the presidential election, according to an Oct. 23 survey of 1,124 people by IRES.

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