Page last updated at 12:45 GMT, Friday, 11 December 2009

Romania court orders recount of void votes

Mircea Geoana in Bucharest, Romania, 6 December 2009
Opposition candidate Mircea Geoana had challenged the result

Romania's constitutional court has ordered a recount of void votes from last weekend's presidential election.

The opposition Social Democrat party had challenged the result of vote, alleging widespread rigging.

The court said 138,000 void ballots would be counted - well above the narrow margin of 70,000 which gave President Traian Basescu victory.

Social Democrat candidate Mircea Geoana, who lost by less than 1%, had called for a new election.

Mr Geoana's party said it knew of 13,000 cases of multiple voting, and had received nationwide reports of bribery and vote-rigging.

Reality check

There were more than 10.4 million votes cast from among 18 million eligible voters.

"The court... decided by a majority of votes... to re-examine the annulled votes and have the Central Election Bureau recount them to establish whether there are any differences between the signed ballots and reality," the court said in a statement reported by Reuters news agency.

After Sunday's vote, in which both candidates declared victory, election observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe said it had generally met commitments made, but urged authorities to investigate reports of irregularities.

Romania has been run by a caretaker government since October. No new prime minister can be appointed or new government formed until the president is appointed.

The presidential election is Romania's first as a member of the European Union.

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