BUCHAREST – The Latest on Romania's presidential election (all times local):
Two exit polls show President Klaus Iohannis picking up nearly 40% of the votes in the first round of Romania's presidential election, followed by Viorica Dancila, the recently ousted prime minister, with about 22%. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the votes in Sunday's balloting, a runoff between the top two candidates will be held Nov. 24.
Official results are not expected before Monday though exit polls by two local pollsters showed very similar outcomes.
IRES had the center-right Iohannis with 38.7% of the votes and Dancila, of the Social Democratic Party, with 22%. The poll by CURS-Avangarde showed Iohannis garnering 39% and Dancila at 22.5%.
Iohannis says the exit polls show that "millions of Romanians in the country and abroad voted for our project, for a normal Romania."
Both exit polls had Dan Barna, of the center-right Save Romania Union, receiving slightly more than 16% of the votes.
Romania is holding a presidential election after a lackluster campaign overshadowed by the country's political crisis, which saw a minority government installed just days ago.
Around 18.2 million voters are eligible to cast ballots in Sunday's election for one of 14 candidates vying for the five-year presidential term.
Recent polls suggested the incumbent, Klaus Iohannis, is favored to capture the most votes. He appeared to be followed by center-left candidate Viorica Dancila, who until last month was Romania's prime minister; independent Mircea Diaconu, a former actor and theater director; and Dan Barna, head of the country's third largest party, the center-right Save Romania Union.
If no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, a second round of voting is to be held Nov. 24.
A member of the European Union since 2007, Romania has been struggling to contain its state budget deficit, which is projected to reach 4.4% of GDP next year, well above the EU limit of 3%. Poverty is also widespread. According to a World Bank study last year, over 25% of Romania's people live on less than $5.50 a day.