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Ponta favourite as Romania votes in presidential run-off


Romania

Ponta favourite as Romania votes in presidential run-off

Romania goes to the polls on Sunday for the second round of the country’s presidential election.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who has promised tax cuts and pension hikes, is favourite to win the run-off against the ethnic German mayor Klaus Iohannis.

The former Communist state, one of the EU’s poorest nations, is looking to exit an IMF-led aid deal and is emerging from painful budget cuts.

Progress on reforms has been slow; corruption and tax evasion are rife.

The campaign has been marked by controversy over election problems concerning Romanians living abroad.

Last week the Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean resigned over the issue.

Thousands of foreign residents claimed they had been unable to vote in the first round.

They complained of long queues and a shortage of official forms.

Friday saw more protests in several cities demanding a “fair vote”.

Outgoing centre-right President Traian Basescu won by a margin of 70,000 votes in 2009 after trailing in opinion polls, largely because he secured more than three-quarters of the 148,000 ballots cast by the diaspora.

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