About 35% of Romanian voters would pick President Traian Basescu if presidential elections took place next Sunday, a new CIVIS poll published on Sundays shows. The head of state is followed by populist businessman-politician George Becali, who would draw the votes of 18% of the population.

Becali is the owner of the Bucharest-based football club Steaua, a major real estate dealer and leader of the small New Generation Party. He has become the subject of controversies for the last two weeks as it was revealed he might have “bought” his numerous appearances in the news at a major commercial TV channel, Pro TV.

Next in line are Mircea Geoana, leader of the opposition Social Democrats-PSD (14%), Liberal PM Calin Popescu-Tariceanu (11%), far-right Greater Romania Party leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor (7%). Last in line are Liberal dissident Theodor Stolojan (6%) and Hungarian Democrat leader Marko Bela (4%).

The poll shows Becali is supported by 92% of voters of his PNG party, by 8% of PSD voters, 6% of Democratic Party voters and 5% of Liberal voters.