Policy brief #62: Foregone conclusions for the Romanian elections?

Romanians are expected to cast a ballot on December 9th so as to elect legislators for the two chambers of Parliament. Polls, as well as local elections held in June, predict a majority with over 50% of votes cast for the Socialist Liberal alliance SLU (already in government), while President Traian Basescu’s own supporters are forecast with 20% of the vote. Turnout will a maximum of 50% amidst high disappointment with politics. 30% of the monitored candidates have made their fortune of the basis of government contracts or enjoy other sorts of government rents. Tensions are extremely high as the President has repeatedly pledged himself to appoint another prime minister than the leader of the current majority, Victor Ponta. A cohabitation is problematic seeing SLU’s last summer attempt to impeach Mr. Basescu, failed only due to his supporters‘ boycott and the resulting insufficient turnout in a popular consultation. If, as public opinion surveys predict, SLU will gain an absolute majority, Mr. Basescu will have to choose between a Georgian or a Lithuanian scenario. Between accepting defeat and a decrease of his powers, and attempting to stretch his constitutional powers once again to refuse nomination to the winners, what will he choose? The Lithuanian stand-off lasted for a month: in the end, the government was formed against the will of the President. SLU hopes to gain two thirds of the seats and change the Romanian Constitution so that semi-presidentialism is replaced with parliamentarianism.