Liberal candidate Crin Antonescu, who came third in presidential elections on Sunday thus failing to go into a second round of elections, said on Monday that any collaboration with incumbent President and rival candidate Traian Basescu was out of question. The statement comes as parties are fighting over support of the electorate for the second round of the presidential poll, due on December 6, when Basescu will face Social Democrat Mircea Geoana.

Antonescu said Basescu was not a rightist candidate as he tried to depict himself on Sunday night, but "a populist candidate, a man who would abuse anything".

A possible support for Mircea Geoana for the second round of election would not be the result of a political truce over the position of prime minister, which is disputed right now, but would consider a convention over the "Johannis project" which would not be possible with Basescu, Antonescu said. The "Johannis project" takes is name from Johannis, mayor of Sibiu city, an independent who earlier this autumn was unsuccessfully nominated by Liberals and Social Democrats for prime minister at the helm of a political government.

Antonescu noted that he was probably voted by 2 million Romanians and that it was the best result of a Liberal candidate since 1990. He said it was decissive what happened with the votes of people who supported him and that in the context he would not recommend them to vote for Basescu.

He said Basescu "was the biggest danger for Romania, a second term would be disastrous" and claimed that Basescu's right-leaning attitude on Sunday night was an "electoral trick"

And he said that on Monday or Tuesday he would probably meet Hungarian Democrats (UDMR) leader Marko Bela and Social Democratic leader and presidential candidate Mircea Geoana.

Earlier on Monday, former Liberal prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu said he and his colleagues would not have any preference for future political talks and that he may consider possible a political understanding with any democratic party, given the bad experience the Liberals had in an alliance with Basescu's Democratic Liberals (PDL) in the past.

For her part, Elena Udrea, executive secretary for PDL, said no matter how upset Crin Antonescu was on Monday it was hard to believe that his voters would choose a candidate supported by ex-President Ion Iliescu, a former Communist, or by Marian Vanghelie, a top PSD leader and a local mayor.