The final outcome of Romania’s pivotal presidential poll looks set to go to the wire after the first round failed to produce an outright winner. Partial results gave current conservative incumbent Traian Basescu about a third of the vote and a slim lead over his Social Democrat rival Mircea Geoana.
The two will now go head-to-head in a run-off on December 6th after liberal candidate Crin Antonescu dropped out. Antonescu’s support could prove crucial for the two remaining contenders. Romania is in the midst of a political and economic crisis and the election is seen as vital in resolving the impasse. The president has little influence on the day-to-day running of the country but does nominate the prime minister. Following the collapse of the centre left government in October and the suspension of a 20 billion euro IMF loan aimed at reviving the crippled conomy, the stakes couldn’t be higher.