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Romania's Basescu Begins Coalition Talks

Romania's new president, Traian Basescu, has begun consultations with political parties to form a new government after this month's simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections.

Mr. Basescu started talks with political parties Tuesday, one day after taking office. Neither his centrist alliance nor the rival Social Democrats has a majority in the new parliament.

Observers expect two smaller parties, one of which is allied with the Social Democrats, to play a crucial role in the negotiations. Mr. Basescu says he will dissolve parliament and call new elections if no governing majority emerges from the talks.

Separately, Social Democratic Prime Minister Adrian Nastase, who lost the presidential poll to Mr. Basescu, announced his resignation Tuesday after being elected speaker of the lower house of parliament.

The president has appointed government Secretary-General Eugen Bejinariu as caretaker prime minister.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.