The people of Romania are voting in a crucial parliamentary election that will determine the country’s response to the global financial crisis.
Whomever wins will have to move fast to prepare for a sharp economic downturn and turbulence in Romania’s financial markets, according to experts.
Turnout was forecast to be low with many people taking a long weekend break ahead of a national holiday tomorrow.
Opinion polls indicate a close race between two opposition parties although neither is expected to win an outright majority.
Mircea Geoana’s leftist Social Democrats look to have gained momentum recently, promising vast welfare giveaways and tax cuts for the poorest.
They are battling it out with Theodor Stolojan’s centrist Democrat-Liberal Party, which is linked to Romania’s popular president.
Trailing in the polls is Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu’s pro-business Liberal Party. This despite it winning praise for efforts to introduce reforms which earned Romania EU entry last year.
Improving transport links is seen as key to Romania’s economic future. The World Economic Forum ranks it 126th out of 134 states for road quality, between Nepal and Poland.