Romania president may call voting system referendum

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BUCHAREST, Oct 15 (Reuters) Romanian President Traian Basescu renewed threats on Monday to call a national referendum to push through a reform of the electoral system designed to make politicians more accountable to voters.

Earlier this year, Basescu, the country's most popular politician, urged parliament to approve changes to the outdated election system based on party lists, blamed by pro-democracy groups for fuelling corruption.

''If I do not receive the law (from parliament) to give it approval by Oct. 22, I will have to respect public commitments and ask for a national referendum,'' Basescu said in a letter to political parties.

''I hope that we will find together a solution to address public expectations of reforming the political class.'' In August, Romania's main political parties agreed to reform the current electoral system, but talks in the fragmented legislature have stalled.

Opinion polls show around 80 percent of Romanians want to vote directly for individual candidates instead of party lists, where voters have little say over who takes up posts in the 462-seat two-chamber parliament.

REUTERS RSA PM2230

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