PROFILE-Romania's President Traian Basescu
Position: President of Romania Incumbent: Traian Basescu Born: Nov. 4, 1951 Term: Directly elected to second five-year term in Dec. 2009. Cannot stand again. Key Facts: -- Third president since the end of communism in 1989, the feisty former sea captain won praise for tackling corruption and preparing Romania to join the European Union in 2007. But an abrasive style and accusations he overstepped his notionally figurehead role saw him suspended in 2007 before Romanians rejected his impeachment by a 3 to 1 margin at a referendum. -- A merchant navy captain, he was enrolled of necessity in the communist party under Nicolae Ceausescu and won early fame for taking command of Romania's largest ship, aged just 32. -- As transport minister in the 1990s, he spearheaded the privatisation of Romania's large but rusting commercial fleet. -- Elected mayor of Bucharest in 2000 by a landslide, his campaign symbol was a red pepper, a staple of local cuisine and a warning of his sharpness. Among controversies, he razed many street kiosks and tried to rid the city of stray dogs. That angered animal welfare activists, including Brigitte Bardot. -- Pledging reform of a murky political class, Basescu succeeded veteran ex-communist president Ion Iliescu in 2004. Five years later, he was narrowly re-elected on a centre-right ticket, beating left-winger Mircea Geoana. -- Having opened up the archives of Ceausescu's feared Securitate secret police to the public in 2005, he was cleared the following year of having been one of its collaborators. -- Three governments have collapsed during his tenure, most recently in February 2012 when centrist prime minister Emil Boc quit after protests against an IMF-approved austerity drive. Economic troubles have also hit Basescu's own popularity. -- Accusations of making racial slurs and of nepotism - his night-clubbing daughter fast-tracked through Romanian politics and into the EU parliament - have also not helped his standing. -- With a parliamentary election due in November and polls predicting victory for the leftist opposition, Basescu replaced Boc with former spy chief Mihai Razvan Ungureanu and seems set on bolstering the electoral chances of the centrist PDL.
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