The Sunday presidential elections are the first such poll taking place in Romania since the country joined the EU in 2007 and come as the country is hit hard by recession, international media reports. AFP expects a voter turnout of below 50% as people are displeased with their politicians, while Le Monde reports incumbent President Basescu tries to secure a second term in office as Social Democratic candidate Mircea Geoana, while lacking Basescu's charisma, has the best electoral machine.
AFP notes the presidential election is accompanied by a referendum called by the incumbent president on reducing the number of MPs, while, according to the quoted agency, people have strong feelings against parliamentarians. AFP also recalls several NGOs have challenged the organization of the referendum as they see it as a means to disadvantage Basescu's rivals.
Le Londe reads that electoral fever has engulfed Romania for several weeks and that 20 years since the fall of communism it was one of the toughest electoral campaigns. The paper reads that Basescu's crusade against state corruption contributes to the public's sympathy for him.
Reuters reads that Romanians are voting in an attempt to find the key to overcome the economic crisis, to reform justice and solve the governmental crisis which has led to a postponement of an IMF loan. The agency reads that the future president will play a crucial role in the process of state reform starting with the nomination of a new prime minister following the collapse of the center-left coalition in October.
And Voice of America reports that the presidential poll is closely monitored by the IMF and the EU as they have postponed an installment of the 20 billion euro loan aimed at helping Romania overcome the crisis.