Romanian opposition kicks off race for presidential candidate

he Romanian rightist opposition grouped around the democrat-liberals (PDL) has started the internal bid to find the candidate who will run next November when President Traian Basescu’s second term ends, in a race for the top job in the country which remains wide open, but which might produce some regrouping of the political forces.

The first to enter the race was Gheorghe Falca, the mayor of Arad, a city on the Western border of the country. Falca, who was recently cleared in a criminal investigation, is the current president’s Godson and a vocal support of Basescu’s political projects. Falca’s candidacy came as a surprise for many since the mayor is a low profile politician and little known in the country, many putting his bid down to his desire to make his party branch more visible.

Though Basescu himself nominated former PM Emil Boc, now mayor of Cluj-Napoca, as a potential candidate, the latter refused to join the internal race. But Boc has anyway a bad public image since he was the head of the government implementing the toughest austerity measures in post-communist Romania and would have been an easy target for the other contenders in the final race.

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