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Ponta in driving seat as Romania picks a new president

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Ponta in driving seat as Romania picks a new president


Romanians are going to the polls today to choose a new president.

The leftist Social Democrat party Prime Minister Victor Ponta is expected to win the first round in a field of 14 candidates but not enough to avoid a run-off on November 16.

His campaign has been hit by several setbacks. Over the last few weeks, Ponta’s father-in-law and other ruling party politicians have been accused of graft and corruption.

Ponta, however, has consistently led opinion polls over his nearest rival, the ethnic German mayor Klaus Iohannis, who is credited with transforming the Transylvanian city of Sibiu and is backed by two centre-right parties.

The president of the Black Sea country of 20 million people carries out ceremonial duties but he also exerts influence on the executive, appointing the new prime minister, judges and prosecutors and can still stall government policy proposals.

It is unclear at this stage whom Ponta might choose as a successor as prime minister if he wins.

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