Romanian President Appoints Victor Ponta as PM

The leader of the center-left ruling coalition in Romania has been nominated to lead the country’s future government.The Romanian president, Traian Basescu, on Monday re-appointed Victor Ponta as the prime minister, in a move aimed to end the current political stalemate.

Rather unusually, Basescu announced the nomination in a written statement and not in a public speech.

Early this morning, Basescu held a very brief meeting with the leaders of the main political parties, and was informed that most of them are supporting Ponta.

Following the December 9 general elections, which the USL won by a landslide, Basescu was hesitant to nominate his arch-rival Ponta for prime minister.

Under the constitution, the party that wins more than 50 per cent of the seats in parliament is entitled to negotiate the nomination of a premier with the president.

Ponta’s leftist USL won two-thirds of the seats in last week’s vote but is locked in a power struggle with Basescu, who previously said he would never again appoint the 40-year-old lawyer.

Romania has been ruled by three governments over the past 12 months. A long dispute between Ponta and Basescu resulted in a referendum on the impeachment of the president on July 29.

Most people who went to the polls voted for impeachment but Basescu remained in his post because the turnout was below the required 50 per cent threshold, coming in at only 46 per cent.

Ponta’s battles with the president have caused concern in Brussels about Romania’s continued commitment to the rule of law. He has since promised to address those worries.

Basescu’s second and final term as head of state, according to the constitution, expires in late 2014.

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