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.

The Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), which represents the country's Hungarian minority, received 6 per cent of the vote and will be left out of the coalition, after participating in the last government.

PSD chief Mircea Geoana said that Romania was "on the verge of a historic moment" with the governing agreement between the two parties, which have been fierce rivals in the past. The coalition showed that both parties have understood the necessity to put national interests first, he said. (dpa)