Romania court declares incumbent winner of disputed presidential election

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Romania [official website, in Romanian] on Monday declared [press release, PDF; in Romanian] incumbent Traian Basescu [official website, in Romanian] winner of the country's disputed presidential election. The court unanimously rejected a complaint by Basescu's opponent, Social Democrat Mircea Geoana [campaign website, in Romanian], to declare the results of last week's runoff election invalid because of allegations of voter fraud and bribery. After the first round of elections in November produced no clear winner, Basescu and Geoana faced a runoff election. Official results showed that Basescu had won by a mere 70,000 votes, garnering 50.3 percent of the total votes, and the court ordered election officials to recount [JURIST report] 138,000 voided ballots on Friday. After the recount, Basescu was still determined to be the winner, and the court refused to annul the results. While Geoana said Monday that he accepted [AFP report] the court's decision, he is seeking a parliamentary inquiry into how the election was conducted.

Basescu's administration will now be tasked with resolving Romania's financial crisis and repairing its image as the most corrupt member of the European Union (EU). In February, the European Commission (EC) [official website] reported [text, PDF] that Romania has not made sufficient progress in its anti-corruption campaign since its accession [JURIST reports] to the EU two years ago. In June 2007, the EC issued a progress report [JURIST report], saying that Romania needed to do more to achieve judicial reform, and combat corruption and organized crime. In July 2008, Romania was again criticized [EU report] for its failure to address the same issues.



 

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