Romania’s presidential election: Ponta v the liberals and the ladies

ROMANIA’S centre-left prime minister, Victor Ponta, is feeling very confident in the run-up to the presidential election that he is contesting. With a comfortable lead, and around 40% in opinion polls, Mr Ponta said that he will “sit back with a bag of popcorn” in the first round of the election on November 2nd and watch his challengers debate.He later apologised for this “bad joke”, which reflects the divisions of the centre-right opposition. With the popular but polarising president, Traian Basescu, unable to run for a third term, the centre-right failed to rally behind a single candidate to succeed him. Instead four politicians hope to challenge Mr Ponta in the second round on November 16th.A liberal, Klaus Iohannis, the German-speaking mayor of Sibiu, a Transylvanian town popular with German investors and tourists, has the best chance. Mr Iohannis was put forward by Mr Ponta and his allies in 2009 as candidate for prime minister, but Mr Basescu preferred to appoint someone from his own political camp.Mr Iohannis hopes to translate his local success to the national level and promises “less talk, more things done” than his ally-turned-foe, Mr Ponta. But…

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