It looks like Romanian voters might re-ignite an unsettling struggle at the pinnacle of the country’s power structure.
Polls suggest the left-wing prime minister Victor Ponta will be re-elected, but the conservative President Traian Basescu has already said that he will not have him in the job.
In Bucharest Elena Malureanu, 55, cast her vote and said: “I expect a change for the better, especially for our children. I want them to have an easier life. Of course everyone wants that, it’s why I’m here so early.”
A 70 year old voter who simply gave her name as Ioana said: “I want a calm country and for people to have jobs, expecially the youngsters. They don’t have food to eat or anywhere to go. I don’t really know what to expect now.”
Prime Minister Ponta incurred the wrath of the president in the summer by trying to get him removed from office using tactics the EU and the United States said undermined the rule of law.
So even if Ponta wins a majority, it is possible that Basescu might go for someone like Daniel Geanta from the right-wing Romania Alliance party, which is tipped to come second.
The populist party of media magnate Dan Diaconescu has benefited from the squabbling. He is set to come in third after promising generous wage rises and cuts in VAT.
Should the president decide to shun Ponta, his choice will still have to be approved by MPs.
It is feared Romania could be heading into a period of uncertainy at a time when it should be negotiaing a new finance deal from the IMF.