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Romanian President Reappoints Rival As Prime Minister

Romanian President Traian Basescu (right) had vowed he would never again appoint Victor Ponta as prime minister.
Romanian President Traian Basescu has reappointed political rival Victor Ponta as prime minister.

The December 17 announcement eases concerns about government stability because of continued tensions between the two politicians.

In July, Ponta's ruling left-of-center Social Liberal Union (USL) coalition voted to impeach Basescu, but a referendum to approve the move failed due to low turnout.

The European Union said the attempt, accompanied by moves to curtail the power of the judiciary, threatened democracy and the rule of law.

Basescu later vowed he would never again appoint Ponta as prime minister.

The USL, however, won the December 9 parliamentary polls with some 60 percent of the vote -- well ahead of the center-right alliance supported by Basescu.

The reappointment gives Ponta a mandate to conclude a new deal with the International Monetary Fund to reassure investors.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters