UPDATED The two candidates in Romania's presidential elections face each other in the final debate before the Sunday poll. The debate started at 7 p.m. and are due to last about two and a half hours. Read the key statements made by the two during the televised debate organised by the Institute for Public Policies and hosted by journalist Robert Turcescu.

The views of the two candidates in the end

Traian Basescu: time was too short, we would have better stick to less themes, for more time to talk

Mircea Geoana: I thank all my colleagues and supporters and I hope I was convincing enough to enjoy good news on Sunday

Final speech - 3 minutes:

Traian Basescu: My dears, let's vote!

Mircea Geoana:

I had the priviledge to campaign and know the Romanians

I saw the way Romania is today, after the five years mandate Basescu had

I had the priviledge to know you

I had the change to reconfirm my affection to the old people and my respect for the Romanians

I prive that I can unite the pople and that I can convince other political parties to endorse my candidacy

I hope we will manage to build a new governance before Christmas

On the Rosia Montana project

Traian Basescu:

I do not have a clear opinion at the moment about the project

I would like to see Romania extract the 8 hundred tons of gold and silver evaluated to exist there

However, we need to pay attention when the solution is found: I will support the solution put forward by experts and I will not interfere in a political way

Mircea Geoana:

I will be against the project unless I am convinced that it does not harm the environment

On Health

Mircea Geoana:

We will have to allocate more of the GDP to health

The main accent needs to go to the insurance system in rural areas

All cities over 2000 people need to have an emergency unit like SMURD

I think we need to set up a national pharmaceutical company, to bring in Romania cheaper pills

The objective is to reduce mortality rates and increase life expectancy

We will need to find an attractive package to keep young doctors in the country

Traian Basescu:

I invited a team of experts to analyze the health system and sketch efficient policies

in 2000 the state budget for health was 1 billion lei and in 2009 it is 5 billion euro

The increase of resources is not seen in quality because the money are lost in the bureaucratic system

On rural areas

Traian Basescu

I discussed this during Tariceanu's government: the biggest problem of youngsters is the lack of housing

We should build houses for young people wishing to move in rural areas

I will demand the government to launch such a program if I win elections

Mircea Geoana:

The government that Johannis will set up will implement the same program Basescu talked about

On Constitutional reform

Traian Basescu

I wholeheartedly support the reformation of the constitution and during my mandate as President I observed many shortcomings

80% of the Romanians opted for a unicameral Parliament and the decrease of the number of Parliamentarians

The reform needs to be understood and implemented immediately by politicians

We need to stop protecting Parliamentarians and the President - anybody should be accountable

Mircea Geoana

We will launch the procedure to revise the Constitution

We will see to have a stable relationship outside the political campaign

We have rights guaranteed by the Constitution

I think that we need to have an integrated vision about Romania for the 21th century

On the fight against corruption

Traian Basescu

I had an important role in setting up the National Integrity Agency and there was no news on a scandalous privatization

Mircea Geoana: Romania is perceived as the most corrupt country in the EU after Basescu's five years mandate

Traian Basescu: any minister called in justice was compelled to leave the government

Mircea Geoana: I stand for President without a penal file unlike President Basescu. I do not depend on anybody

On the business environment

Traian Basescu: in the first place, the business environment is pleased that we managed to stabilize the national currency and they can get credits with good interest rates.

Mircea Geoana: I do not think the 18% interest rate is pleasing

Traian Basescu: Geoana is not informed, the interest rate is around 10%.

On economic policies:

Mircea Geoana:

  • On the first day of the new government led by (proposed PM) Johannis I will discuss the elimination of the lump sum tax
  • We need a new economic model
  • We need a multi-annual budgeting process, covering two or three years
  • Jobs, jobs, jobs - this is my motto
  • The program of the current government is inefficient
  • The guarantee for the First House program should have been used for a national fund for the construction of homes. The financial system still discusses with local elected officials arbitrarily. We need a competent, strong government

Traian Basescu:

  • The economic policy must be stronger regarding rural areas
  • We have eight billion euro for rural development
  • Part of the money must go to creating jobs at rural level
  • As long as the farmer goes to the city to sell his milk or pork, he will remain poor
  • Only when we have enterprises to process milk, pork, only then the farmer will start be able to consider reaching prosperity some time
  • I understand Mircea Geoana does not believe the deal with the IMF is important. In the absence of the deal, the risk of Romanian monetary depreciation would have been enormous, dramatic for the salaries of the people
  • the non-taxation of reinvested profit creates a good premise for the reduction of the single tax from 16 to 14% in 2011

On national security:

Traian Basescu:

  • The national security of Romania is totally linked to NATO - no member of the organisation can be left alone in case of aggression
  • The social security is part of the national security
  • Mr Geoana has spoken of the Mafia in the West or in the East, but what about the Mafia here. The structure of his support was linked to the TV stations of Vantu, Vaoiculescu, to the interventions of Patriciu
  • There are people here who are draining public resources for pensions, education, low salaries and politicians are governing for their sake

Mircea Geoana:

  • The crisi has led to a rearrangement of the world order with a speed no expert had anticipated
  • We are witnessing a problem of national economy security
  • We have to strengthen the economic potency of this country
  • The Romanian state is not yet equipped with the modern and advanced tools to defend ourselves against these risks
  • The shadow economy rose to a third of the GDP. What have you done so far, have you slept at the presidential palace?

On foreign policy:

Mircea Geoana:

  • This is an important role of the president
  • It's obvious that at this moment we are witnessing a difficult period in which Romania's prestige was affected by the President-prime minister relation and because domestic issues have gone abroad
  • Romania must build a strong European profile
  • When the world changes and multiple issues appear in our neighborhood, the foreign policy must be much more pragmatic to develop trade relations
  • We have to pay special attention to the Republic of Moldova which brought down the last communist regime in Europe
  • We'll have to open up relations with Ukraine and collaborate on exploitation issues as well
  • For a year you've not been received at the Kremlin because you have such an aggressive policy that not even Russia understands it - nor our partners

Traian Basescu:

  • The essence of foreign policy is national interest. In the security policy, Romania, beyond being a NATO member, consolidates a strategic partner with the US
  • The result is the existence of US troops at military bases here
  • Within the EU there is a need of a policy correlated with similar-interest countries
  • We managed a partnership with France to support our interests mutually
  • Regarding the Republic of Moldova, the new power there has signed decrees to open consulates and we signed the convention of small border traffic
  • It's essential to develop a policy of consolidation of peace south of Danube, in the Balkans, a policy to connect Romania to Central Asia
  • I am the supporter of a good relationship with Ukraine (...) Ukraine must respect Romania's interests in the region (...) Romanians in Ukraine must be able to learn their language and receive citizenship

On the relation between the president and the government:

Traian Basescu:

  • A President who sees that the government does not act as it should must warned them about it
  • The President is not the result of negotiations between parties
  • When i intervened with the government during the floods, there were people left in the streets
  • A President who lets himself involved in party games against the interest of the people betrays his people
  • You will have yet another 5 years of my fight with the political class unless they get themselves in the service of Romanians and you will have yet another five years when I would not fail to remind you that I defend Romanians, not politicians
  • The President and the Government must be partners

Mircea Geoana:

  • A president has the main role of uniting Romanians, not to produce tensions within the society
  • My mission is uniting Romanians and assure continuity in projects, not in scandals
  • I have a vision and a democratic behaviour totally different from those of Basescu
  • In the past five years we see two seriously negative situations: during the 2005 floods, Basescu decided the solution would be early elections; and the relation of total subordination of PM Emil Boc to the total domination of President Basescu
  • For me, a correct relationship with Johannis (the Sibiu mayor, supported by several parties for prime minister) is a belief of good government functioning

On why not voting for Basescu/Geoana:

Traian Basescu:

  • I would not vote for Geoana because he is a weak man, who needs the support of others to stay president of his party
  • A man who was supported during the elections by people such as (media owners, businessmen and politicians) Patriciu, Hrebenciuc, Voiculescu, Iliescu, Vantu is a man who doesn't stand on his feet
  • As head of state he would be the partner of those mentioned above
  • Geoana cannot be president because he is not sincere, he affirms principles but breaks them as soon as he has the occasion

Mircea Geoana:

  • Basescu was a permanent source of scandal
  • He failed his promises. Five years ago he promised we'd live well and the economy is now terrible
  • He betrayed his partners, allies and friends. He stabbed his partners in the back
  • He would never stand above his own interest

Their vision on the term as a president

Traian Basescu:

  • These elections may be a return in time with the return of PSD, Iliescu and Geoana to the presidential palace
  • Being elected president is a privilege and a huge obligation that has marked my every day during my first term in office
  • The experience of the first term with all its ups and downs shows me that Romania is now before an option between going back to the past and a modern society
  • The alliance supporting Geoana is one which the political behaviour in the Parliament has shown is not ready to serve Romanians. The aim of this alliance is keeping their privileges
  • I propose a Romania where we apply the decisions of the people on the reform of the parliament immediately.

Mircea Geoana

  • There are three days until the people elects the future president in a terrible moment economically, politically and socially
  • I came before you with a project for the development of our country
  • I demonstrated I am a man who knows how to unite Romanians and keep a positive tone and a constructive way
  • I'm speaking of a single Romania and not about an electoral slogan
  • We need a new social model
  • I have a project to overcome the economic crisis
  • Together with the majority which I have created, with our Liberal colleagues
  • I am the guarantee that by Christmas the Johannis Government would become a certainty