Romanian Socialists, Liberals on verge of coalition

Bucharest  - Romania's top two political parties were on the verge of forming a coalition Sunday, after the Socialists and the Democratic Liberals finished in a near draw with neither near a majority in last month's parliamentary election.

The centre-left Social Democrats (PSD) had 33.1 per cent in Romania's lower House elections on November 30, while the centre- right Democratic Liberals (PDL) had more than 32.3 per cent. Results in the upper Senate were very similar.

The two groups hope to ink an agreement as early as Sunday to form a "Partnership for Romania" coalition, PDL chief Emil Boc said, voicing hopes for the new government to take office on December 22.

The PDL's Theodor Stolojan would become prime minister.

Car tax demos cause frontier tailbacks in Romania

Bucharest - Demonstrators protesting increased car taxes blocked Romania's two main western border points of Nadlac and Bors Saturday, causing long tailbacks.

The protest was at the outgoing government of Prime Minister Calin Popesscu Tariceanu trebling environmental tax on newly-imported second- hand cars in a bid to protect Romania's own auto industry.

Similar demonstrations went ahead in central Bucharest and the northern city of Bistrita. There had already been demonstrations in other cities and towns the previous day.

The tax increase has seen a rush by motorists to register newly- imported cars before a 15 December deadline which had already been extended by a week to cope with registration demands.

Vaclav Klaus: "We will not be campaigners for the climate package"

Vaclav KlausBucharest - The Czech Republic will make no special effort to tackle climate change when it takes over the rotating EU presidency in January, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said on Thursday.

"We will not be campaigners for the climate package," Klaus said, during a private visit to the Romanian capital Bucharest, the Romanian news agency Mediafax reported.

He also expressed fears that the global financial crisis would be used as a pretext for curtailing freedoms in the markets.

"The climate is OK," and the problem of global warming was mere "ideology," Klaus said at a book presentation.

Bangladeshi president urges Romania to import workers

Bangladeshi president urges Romania to import workers Dhaka  - Bangladeshi President Iajuddin Ahmed Sunday urged Romanian authorities to recruit Bangladeshi workers to help contribute to the south-east European country's economy.

The president was commenting during ceremonies as outgoing Romanian Ambassador Vasile Sofineti paid a farewell visit, with Ahmed offering skilled and semi-skilled labour, according to a statement released by the Presidential office.

Romania's leading communist-era dissident dies

Centre-left squeeks ahead of centre-right in Romania polls

Bucharest  - Romania's centre-left Social Democrats (PSD) were leading the centre-right Democratic Liberals (PDL) of President Traian Basescu by less than a percentage point in the country's parliamentary elections Monday.

With 99.62 per cent of Sunday's ballots counted, figures released by the Central Electoral Commission gave the Social Democrats' 33.09 per cent in the lower house compared to Basescu's PDL 32.34 per cent.

In the Senate, the PSD collected 34.12 per cent, while the PDL garnered 33.57 per cent.

Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu's National Liberal Party languished in third place with 18.57 per cent in the lower house and 18.75 per cent in the Senate.