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Romanians Vote In Shadow Of Financial Crisis

Reforms have stalled under Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu's minority government.
BUCHAREST (Reuters) -- Romanians voted in parliamentary elections on November 30 that will decide both their country's response to the global financial crisis and the fate of government efforts to fight corruption, stalled since it joined the European Union last year.

Opinion polls suggested a close race between two opposition parties, the ex-communist Social Democrats (PSD) and centrist Democrat Liberal Party (PD-L), which has close links with President Traian Basescu.

The vote comes at a critical time, with the economy slowing and crucial judicial reforms all but frozen under the minority government of Calin Tariceanu.

Divisions between the three leading parties run deep and Basescu, while remaining popular with the electorate, has alienated many in the ruling elite with scathing criticisms of patronage and corruption, seen as an endemic weakness of this poor EU member.

The PSD and the PD-L are on about 30 percent each, with Tariceanu's Liberal party (PNL) trailing on about 20 percent.