Romanian PM in a tight spot ahead of elections

Romanian PM in a tight spot ahead of elections

After four months in power and a failed attempt to oust the president, Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta is under fire at home and abroad, with his coalition under strain before an election in December when victory is now far from assured.

Ponta, a leftist Social Democrat, seemed to have it all when he became the European Union's youngest prime minister in May, his alliance with liberals enjoying a robust parliamentary majority and opinion poll ratings above 60 percent.

Now the man who was supposed to represent a change of guard for his party, successors to the Communists of late dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, is under strain. Rather than tackling the many problems of the EU's second poorest country, Ponta's term so far has been dominated by his party's attempt to overthrow President Traian Basescu, which has provoked conflict with the judiciary, concern in Brussels and uncertainty among investors over a deal with the IMF.

"The governing parties have come across as trying to secure all the levers of power without regard to democratic checks,” said an analyst.

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