BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania's leftist government has lost support over its failed attempt to remove the country's president from office, but is still on course to win parliamentary elections later this year, an opinion poll showed on Sunday.
The survey, conducted by pollster IRES after Romania's Constitutional Court ruled a referendum to impeach President Traian Basescu was invalid, showed the ruling Social-Liberal Union (USL) had 54 percent support.
The USL had 64 percent in a previous IRES survey conducted in late July, just after it suspended Basescu pending the national referendum on whether to remove him from office permanently.
The battle pitting the president against Prime Minister Victor Ponta has raised questions over the government's commitment to the rule-of-law and could flare again in coming months as one of the European Union's poorest states faces pressure to stick to cost controls under a 5 billion euro International Monetary Fund-led aid deal.
The poll, published in newspaper Evenimentul Zilei, showed the opposition Democrat-Liberal Party (PDL), unpopular for its austerity policies while in government until earlier this year and with which Basescu has close links, would win 23 percent of the vote.
The populist Dan Diaconescu, whose new party advocates steep tax cuts, had 10 percent support.
DATE POLLSTER USL PDL PPDD UDMR
Aug 2012 IRES 54.0% 23.0% 10.0% 5.0%
July 2012 CURS 63.0% 19.0% 9.0% 6.0%
March 2012 IMAS 48.4% 18.6% 16.6% 7.0%
Feb 2012 CSOP 47.0% 20.0% 18.0% 5.0%
Feb 2012 CCSB 57.0% 18.0% 12.0% 4.0%
Jan 2012 IMAS 53.4% 15.8% 13.9% 5.8%
USL - The ruling Social-Liberal Union alliance
PDL - the rightist opposition Democrat-Liberal Party
PPDD - Populist People's Party of media tycoon Dan Diaconescu
UDMR - Ethnic Hungarian party, junior ruling coalition party
(Reporting by Sam Cage; editing by Patrick Graham)