20 December 2004 -- Romanian President-elect Traian Basescu is due to take office today following his runoff election victory over Prime Minister Adrian Nastase one week ago.
Basescu has pledged to start coalition-building talks immediately after he takes the oath of office so that Romania will have a new government before Christmas.
Basescu's Justice and Truth Alliance and the rival Social Democrats -- neither of which hold a parliamentary majority -- have each been talking with smaller parties in hopes of building a coalition. A party representing ethnic Hungarians said on 18 December that it would negotiate with the alliance.
The new government's main task will be to lead Romania to European Union membership. EU leaders on 17 December formally closed membership talks with Romania and Bulgaria, clearing the way for them to join the EU in 2007.