According to exit polls, Romania’s socialists are ahead in both the country’s parliamentary and presidential votes. The ruling ex-communists are led by Prime Minister Adrian Nastase. He was quick to declare victory when polls showed his party had won around 40 percent of the vote. “In my name and in the name of my colleagues, I would like to thank you for your confidence,” he said. “We will keep our promises. We will fulfil all our engagements from the very first day of work.” Strong gains by the new centrist opposition alliance led by Trajan Basescu means the election could produce a hung parliament.
As for the presidential race, neither candidate has won an outright majority, so they will face each other again in a second round of voting in two weeks. As for Ultra-nationalist Vadim Tudor, he failed to repeat his performance of 2000 when he made it into the second round. His Greater Romania party also saw support fall from around 20 percent to 13 percent.
About 57 percent of Romania’s 18 million voters were estimated to have cast ballots, with more participation coming from rural areas. Western analysts have credited the PSD with rescuing the nation from economic collapse and setting it on a clearly pro-Western path and on the threshold of EU membership. But the EU has also criticised the party for slow structural reforms, reluctant steps in fighting endemic graft and securing human rights.