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Romania constitutional court orders partial recount of presidential votes

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Romania [official website, in Romanian] on Friday ordered a recount [press release, PDF; in Romanian] of void ballots from the country's disputed presidential election. After the first round of elections in November produced no clear winner, incumbent Traian Basescu [official website, in Romanian] and Social Democrat Mircea Geoana [campaign website, in Romanian] faced a runoff election on Sunday. Both candidates declared victory [BBC report] Sunday night, but official results showed that Basescu had won by a mere 70,000 votes, garnering 50.3 percent of the total votes. The court order requires election officials to determine whether 138,000 ballots were improperly declared void, which could potentially sway the election in favor of Geoana. Although Geoana supporters have accused Basescu of election fraud, some analysts believe that the court will not ultimately overturn [AP report] the election results.

Many voters had hoped that the election would help repair Romania's image as the most corrupt member of the European Union (EU). In February, the European Commission (EC) [official website] reported [text, PDF] that Romania has not made sufficient progress in its anti-corruption campaign since its accession [JURIST reports] to the European Union (EU) two years ago. In June 2007, the EC issued a progress report [JURIST report], saying that Romania needed to do more to achieve judicial reform, and combat corruption and organized crime. In July 2008, Romania was again criticized [EU report] for its failure to address the same issues.

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