Centre-right candidate Klaus Iohannis has scored an unexpected victory over front runner Prime Minister Victor Ponta in Romania’s presidential election.
Ethnic German Iohannis had been beaten by Ponta in the first round on November 2 and was trailing him in opinion polls right up to Sunday’s vote.
It is thought the outcome may have been decided by the four million or so Romanians living abroad – many of whom are disillusioned by Ponta and his Social Democrat alliance.
Despite the election result, Ponta said
he has no intention of resigning as prime minister and will remain in office until parliamentary elections due in 2016.
“I would like to thank to all Romanians who voted, I would like to say that the people are always right. I called Mr. Iohannis and I congratulated him on his victory. Myself and my colleagues, as long as we are in public positions, will fulfil our duties for the country, “ Ponta told the media.
However thousands of people afterwards took to the streets of Bucharest in anger at Ponta’s government.
The former Communist country is emerging from painful budget cuts after the global economic crisis and tax evasion and corruption are rife.
Iohannis will replace President Traian Basescu who is stepping down after ten years.