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Romania Announces Parliamentary Polls

Prime Minister Victor Ponta
Romania's government has set parliamentary elections for December 9.

The elections come amid high tension between leftist Prime Minister Victor Ponta's ruling USL coalition and center-right President Traian Basescu.

In July, the USL launched a move to impeach Basescu, leading to a referendum that failed as voter turnout fell short of the required 50-percent threshold.

The push by Ponta's leftist alliance to dismiss Basescu slowed policy-making, battered the national currency, and raised questions about the fate of an IMF-led aid deal worth 5 billion euros.

The European Union and the United States sharply criticized the impeachment move, voicing concerns that the EU country's democracy was under threat.

The USL government has been wracked by scandals since coming to power in April, with Ponta himself facing allegations of plagiarism.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP