posted at 21:00
Author Name: Isabelle Le Page
Romania PM poised for election win despite justice fears
The elections are seen as a crucial test for Romania, as well as central Europe, at a time when democracy has suffered setbacks in some neighbouring countries, such as Hungary, and as the Ukraine crisis has shaken relations between the European Union and Russia. Romania is the second poorest country in the European Union after Bulgaria. "I think these elections can be a maturity test for Romania," said Corina Rebegea from the Centre for European Policy Analysis in Washington. The country needs "a president who can imprint a clear sense of vision about how we continue to build a democratic system of governance and rule of law, and proves that 25 years of transition are worth something." Romanians must ultimately be in control, said Monica Macovei, a European deputy and independent candidate. "I would be ashamed to ask for help from the European Union," the former justice minister said recently. After two stormy and paralysing years of cohabitation between Ponta and Basescu, the country needs to carry out reforms quickly, particularly in public administration. Foreign investments have dropped in the past five quarters, mainly due to Romania's chronic incapacity to manage investment programmes or correctly use European funds, said Gabor Hunya, from the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies.

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